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learn to read with clearness, loudness, and strength. Others that affect a rakish negligent air by folding their arms, and lolling on their book, will be taught a decent behaviour, and comely erection of body. Those that read so fast as if impatient of their work, may learn to speak deliberately. There is another sort of persons whom I call pindaric readers, as being confined to no set measure; these pronounce five or six words with great deliberation, and the five or six subsequent ones with as great celerity: the first part of a sentence with a very exalted voice, and the latter part with a submissive one: sometimes again with one sort of a tone, and immediately after with a very different These gentlemen will learn of my admired reader an evenness of voice and delivery, And all who are innocent of these affectations, but read with such an indifferency as if they did not understand the language, may then be informed of the art of reading movingly and fervently, how to place the emphasis, and give the proper accent to each word, and how to vary the voice according to the nature of the sentence. There is certainly a very great difference between the reading a prayer and a gazette, which I beg to inform a set of readers, who affect, forsooth, a certain gentleman-like familiarity of tone, and mend the language as they go on, crying instead of pardoneth and absolveth, pardons and absolves. These are often pretty classical scholars, and would think it an unpardonable sin to read Virgil or Martial with so little taste as they
do divine service.
This indifferency seems to me to arise from the endeavour of avoiding the imputation of cant, and the false notion of it. It will be proper therefore to trace the original and signification of this word. Cant is, by some people, derived from one Andrew Cant, who, they say, was a Presbyterian minister in some illiterate part of Scotland, who by exercise and use had obtained the faculty, alias gift, of talking in the
pulpit in such a dialect, that it is said he was understood by none but his own congregation, and not by all of them. Since Master Cant's time it has been understood in a larger sense, and signifies all sudden exclamations, whinings, unusual tones, and in fine all praying and preaching, like the unlearned of the Presbyterians. But I hope a proper elevation of voice, a due emphasis and accent, are not to come within this description: so that our readers may still be as unlike the Presbyterians as they please. The dissenters, I mean such as I have heard, do indeed elevate their voices, but it is with sudden jumps from the lower to the higher part of them; and that with so little sense or skill, that their elevation and cadence is bawling and muttering. They make use of an emphasis, but so improperly, that it is often placed on some very insignificant particle, as upon if, or and. Now if these improprieties have so great an effect on the people, as we see they have, how great an influence would the service of our church, containing the best prayers that ever were composed, and that in terms most affecting, most humble, and most expressive of our wants, and dependence on the object of our worship, disposed in most proper order, and void of all confusion; what influence, I say, would these prayers have, were they delivered with a due emphasis, and apposite rising and variation of voice, the sentence concluded with a gentle cadence, and, in a word, with such an accent and turn of speech as is peculiar to prayer?
As the matter of worship is now managed, in dissenting congregations, you find insignificant words and phrases raised by a lively vehemence; in our own churches, the most exalted sense depreciated, by a dispassionate indolence. I remember to have heard Dr. Se say in his pulpit, of the Common Prayer, that, at least, it was as perfect as any thing of human institution: if the gentlemen who err in this kind would please to recollect the many pleasantries they have read
upon those who recite good things with an ill grace, they would go on to think that what in that case is only ridiculous, in themselves is impious. But leav. ing this to their own reflections, I shall conclude this trouble with what Cæsar said upon the irregularity of tone in one who read before him, "Do you read or sing? If you sing, you sing very ill.”
DISGRACE OF SPIES
Hi narrata ferunt alio: mensuraque ficti
Some tell what they have heard, or tales devise:
VID describes the Palace of Fame as situated in
the very centre of the universe, and perforated with so many windows and avenues as gave her the sight of every thing that was done in the heavens, in the earth, and in the sea. The structure of it was contrived in so admirable a manner, that it echoed every word which was spoken in the whole compass of nature; so that the palace, says the poet, was always filled with a confused hubbub of low dying sounds, the voices being almost spent, and worn out before they arrived at this general rendezvous of speeches and whispers.
I consider courts with the same regard to the governments which they superintend, as Ovid's Palace of Fame with regard to the universe. The eyes of a watchful minister run through the whole people.There is scarce a murmur or complaint that does not reach his ears. They have news-gatherers and intelli.
gencers distributed into their several walks and quarters, who bring in their respective quotas, and make them acquainted with the discourse and conversation of the whole kingdom or commonwealth where they are employed. The wisest of kings, alluding to these invisible and unsuspected spies, who are planted by kings and rulers over their fellow-citizens, as well as to those voluntary informers, that are buzzing about the ears of a great man, and making their court by such secret methods of intelligence, has given us a very prudent caution: "Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."
As it is absolutely necessary for rulers to make use of other people's eyes and ears, they should take particular care to do it in such a manner, that it may not bear too hard on the person whose life and conversation are inquired into. A man who is capable of so infamous a calling as that of a spy, is not very much to be relied upon. He can have no great ties of honour, or checks of conscience, to restrain him in those covert evidences, where the person accused has no opportunity of vindicating himself. He will be more industrious to carry that which is grateful, than that which is true. There will be no occasion for him, if he does not hear and see things worth discovery; so that he naturally inflames every word and circumstance, aggravates what is faulty, perverts what is good, and misrepresents what is indifferent. Nor is it to be doubted but that such ignominious wretches let their private passions into these their clandestine informa tions, and often wreak their particular spite or malice against the person whom they are set to watch. It is a pleasant scene enough, which an Italian author describes between a spy, and a cardinal who employed him. The cardinal is represented as minuting down every thing that is told him. The spy begins with a low voice, Such an one, the advocate, whispered to
one of his friends, within my hearing, that your eminence was a very great poltroon; and after having given his patron time to take it down, adds, that another called him a mercenary rascal in a public conversation. The cardinal replies, Very well, and bids him go on. The spy proceeds, and loads him with reports of the same nature, till the cardinal rises in great wrath, calls him an impudent scoundrel, and kicks him out of the room.
It is observed of great and heroic minds, that they have not only shown a particular disregard to those unmerited reproaches which have been cast upon them, but have been altogether free from that impertinent curiosity of inquiring after them, or the poor revenge of resenting them. The histories of Alexander and Cæsar are full of this kind of instances. Vulgar souls are of a quite contrary character. Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, had a dungeon which was a very curious piece of architecture, and of which, as I am informed, there are still to be seen some remains in that island. It was called "Dionysius's Ear," and built with several little windings and labyrinths in the form of a real ear. The structure of it made it a kind of whispering place, but such a one as gathered the voice of him who spoke into a funnel, which was placed at the very top of it. The tyrant used to lodge all his state criminals, or those whom he supposed to be engaged together in any evil designs upon him, in this dungeon. He had at the same time an apartment over it, where he used to apply himself to the funnel, and by that means over-hear every thing that was whispered in the dungeon. I believe one may venture to affirm, that a Cæsar or an Alexander would rather have died by the treason, than have used such disingenuous means for the detecting of it.
A man, who in ordinary life is very inquisitive after every thing which is spoken ill of him, passes his time but very indifferently. He is wounded by every arrow