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“ Murder ! That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them; But they did their
and address'd them Again to sleep.
Shakespeare: Macbeth, 11, ii.
39. Faults in vocal quality Faults in the quality of voice are of two classes ; namely. (1) those caused by malformation of some part of the vocal apparatus or by obstruction of the resonance chambers, such as lack of the soft palate, ill-formed upper or lower jaw, enlarged tonsils, inflammation of the throat or larynx, and similar disorders, all of which come within the province of the physician; and (2) those due to misadjustment and misuse of an otherwise normal vocal instrument, or to a lack of responsiveness of the muscles and the tissues con cerned in vocalization to the stimulus of thought and feeling. One occasionally meets an individual whose voice undergoes no shade of change in quality, whether the utterance be of joy, sorrow, fear, or hope. Bad qualities of tone arising from misadjustment or bad use may be modified to a considerable extent, and oftentimes entirely removed, by assiduous practice under the direction of a skilled teacher of voice. But no more effective means of bringing the in. flexible and unresponsive voice into obedient relation to mind, imagination, and emotion is to be found than by the education of these faculties through the study of all forms of art and literature, and by such vocal practice as this chapter suggests.
PROBLEMS IN VOCAL QUALITY
1. Conversational 1. So live that your afterself the man you ought to be —
may in his time be possible and actual. Far away in the twenties, the thirties of the Twentieth Century, he is awaiting his turn. His body, his brain, his soul are in your boyish hands. He cannot help himself. What will you leave for him? Will it be a brain unspoiled by lust or dissipation, a mind trained to think and act, a nervous system true as a dial in its response to the truth about you? Will you, boy of the Twentieth Century, let him come as a man among men in his time, or will you throw away his inheritance before he has had the chance to touch it? Will you let him come, taking your place, gaining through your experience, hallowed through your joys, building on them his own, or will you fling his hope away, decreeing, wanton-like, that the man you might have been shall never be ?
Jordan: The Call of the Twentieth Century."
2. We may have but a few thousands of days to spend, perhaps
hundreds only — perhaps tens; nay, the longest of our time and best, looked back on, will be but as a moment, as the twinkling of an eye; still, we are men, not insects; we are living spirits, not passing clouds. “He maketh the winds His messengers; the momentary fire, His minister; and shall we do less than these? Let us do the work of men while we bear the form of them. Ruskin: The Mystery of Life.
3. In closing, let me mention, by way of illustration, a most
touching and instructive scene which I once witnessed at the annual meeting in the great hall of the Sorbonne in Paris for the purpose of awarding medals of honor to those who had performed acts of conspicuous bravery in saving human life at sea. A bright-eyed boy of scarcely fourteen summers was called to the platform. The story was recounted of how one winter's night when a fierce tempest was raging on the rude Normandy coast, he saw signals of distress at sea and started with his father, the captain of a small vessel, and the mate to attempt a rescue. By dint of almost superhuman effort the crew of a sinking ship was safely taken aboard. A wave washed the father from the deck. The boy plunged into the seething waves to save him, but the attempt was in vain, and the father perished. The lad struggled back to the vessel, to find that the mate had also been washed overboard. Then lashing himself fast, he took the wheel and guided the boat, with its precious cargo of human souls, through the howling storm safely into port. The minister of public instruction, after paying a touching tribute to the boy's courage in a voice broken with emotion, pinned the medal on his breast, placed in his hands a diploma of honor, and then, seizing the brave lad in his arms, imprinted a kiss on each cheek. For a moment the boy seemed dazed, not knowing which way to turn, as he stood there with the tears streaming down his bronzed cheeks while every one in that vast hall wept in sympathy. Suddenly his eyes turned toward his old peasant mother, she to whom he owed his birth and his training, as she sat at the back of the platform with bended form and wearing her widow's cap. He rushed to her, took the medal from his breast, and, casting it and his diploma into her lap, threw himself on his knees at her feet.
1 Used with the kind permission the author.
Porter: The Soldier's Creed."
2. Strong and elevated feeling
1 Used with the kind permission of the author.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail ;
yet his honour and his toil ;
may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
Tennyson : Ulysses.
That so much of Scripture should be written in the language of poetry has excited some surprise and created some inquiry; and yet in nothing do we perceive more clearly than in this, the genuineness, power, and divinity of the oracles of our faith. As the language of poetry is that into which all earnest natures are insensibly betrayed, so it is the only speech which has in it the power of permanent impression. The language of the imagination is the native language of man. It is the language of his excited intellect, of his aroused passions, of his devotion, of all the higher moods and temperaments of his mind. It was meet, therefore, that it should be the language of his revelation from God.
The language of poetry is thus the language of the inspired volume. The Bible is a mass of beautiful figures ; its words and its thoughts are alike poetical; it has gathered around its central truths all natural beauty and interest ; it is a Temple with one altar and one God, but illuminated by a thousand varied lights, and studded with a thousand ornaments. It has substantially but one declaration to make, but it utters that in the voices of the creation. It has pressed into its service the animals of the forest, the flowers of the field, the stars of heaven, all the elements of nature. The lion spurning the sands of the desert, the wild roe leaping over the mountains, the lamb led in silence to the slaughter, the goat speeding to the wilderness; the rose blossoming in Sharon, the lily drooping the valley, the apple-tree bowing under its fruit; the great rock shadowing a weary land, the river gladdening the dry place; the moon and the morning star ; Carmel by the sea, and Tabor among the mountains; the dew from the womb of the morning, the rain upon the mown grass, the rainbow encompassing the landscape; the light, God's shadow; the thunder, His voice; the wind and the earthquake, His footsteps :-- all such varied objects are made, as if naturally so designed from their creation, to represent Him to whom the Book and all its emblems point. Thus the quick spirit of the Book has ransacked creation to lay its treasures on Jehovah's altar, united the innumerable rays of a farstreaming glory on the little hill of Calvary, and woven a garland for the bleeding brow of Immanuel, the flowers of which have been culled from the gardens of a universe.
George Gilfillan : Bards of the Bible.
Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules ;
Before him only shoreless seas.
For lo! the very stars are gone.