Speech and Drama
V. ‘The Secret of the Art of the Masters Consists in This: He Annihilates Matter Through Form’
9 September 1924, Dornach
My dear Friends,
We will begin today with two recitations that will demonstrate for you how in a poetic composition, on the one hand an inclination to prose may predominate, or again the work may have throughout the character of fully developed poetry. Goethe gives us good opportunity for observing these two possibilities, for there are quite a number of works that he wrote in rhythmical prose and afterwards re-composed in verse. He was from the outset sensible of the poetry of the theme, and brought it to expression in cadence and rhythm. But when, later on, he returned with riper knowledge and experience to these prose poems of his, he felt a need to re-write them and give them a language that was inherently artistic throughout. And so we have, for example, the two plays of Iphigenie, a ‘German’ and a ‘Roman’. The German play is born out of immediate feeling that still has a considerable prosaic element in it; but Goethe not being a man for whom it was possible to have merely prosaic feelings for such a theme, his language would, in telling of these inner experiences of the soul, inevitably find its way into rhythm and become rhythmical prose. Then, later on, he gave the theme full poetic form. That was when, through an intense and living experience of the forms of classical art, Goethe had come to feel a need to mould his language artistically, to give it a plastic character.
today, then, we will begin with the famous soliloquy in Iphigenie. We will listen to it first in rhythmical prose, as we find it in what is known as the German Iphigenie.
(Frau Dr. Steiner): Monologue from Iphigenie.
Heraus in eure Schatten, ewig rege Wipfel des heiligen Hains, wie in das Heiligtum der Göttin der ich diene, tret' ich mit immer neuem Schauder, und meine Seele gewöhnt sich nicht hierher! So manche Jahre wohn' ich hier unter euch verborgen, und immer bin ich wie im ersten fremd. Denn mein Verlangen steht hinüber nach dem schönen Lande der Griechen, und immer möcht' ich übers Meer hinüber, das Schicksal meiner Vielgeliebten teilen. Weh dem! der fern von Eltern und Geschwistern ein einsam Leben führt; ihn lässt der Gram des schönsten Glückes nicht geniessen; ihm schwärmen abwärts immer die Gedanken nach seines Vaters Wohnung, an jene Stelle, wo die goldne Sonne zum erstenmal den Himmel vor ihm aufschloss, wo die Spiele der Mitgebornen die sanften, liebsten Erdenbande knüpften.
Der Frauen Zustand ist der schlimmste vor allen Menschen. Will dem Manne das Glück, so herrscht er und erficht im Felde Ruhm; und haben ihm die Götter Unglück zubereitet, fällt er, der Erstling von den Seinen in den schönen Tod. Allein des Weibes Glück ist eng gebunden, sie dankt ihr Wohl stets andern, öfters Fremden, und wenn Zerstörung ihr Haus ergreift, führt sie aus rauchenden Trümmern, durchs Blut erschlagener Liebsten, ein Ueberwinder fort.
Auch hier an dieser heiligen Stätte hält Thoas mich in ehrenvoller Sklaverei! Wie schwer wird mir's, dir wider Willen dienen, ewig reine Göttin! Retterin! Dir sollte mein Leben zu ewigem Dienste geweiht sein. Auch hab' ich stets auf dich gehofft und hoffe noch, Diana, die du mich, verstossene Tochter des grössten Königs, in deinen heiligen, sanften Arm genommen Ja, Tochter Jovis, hast du den Mann, dessen Tochter du fordertest, hast du den göttergleichen Agamemnon, der dir sein Liebstes zum Altare brachte, hast du vom Felde der umgewandten Troja ihn glücklich und mit Ruhm nach seinem Vaterlande zurück begleitet, hast du meine Geschwister, Elektren und Oresten, den Knaben, und unsere Mutter, ihm zu Hause den schönsten Schatz bewahrt, so rette mich, die du vom Tod gerettet, auch von dem Leben hier dem zweiten Tod.
Act I, Scene 1.
IPHIGENIA. Into your shade, 0 sacred grove, into the shadow of those trees whose topmost boughs are never still, even as into the holy shrine of the Goddess whom I serve, I come each time with fear and trembling, never feeling that I am on familiar ground. Many a long year have I lived here in concealment, and am still no less a stranger than at my first coming hither. For I long continually for the far-off and lovely land of the Greeks; fain would I cross the wide seas and share the destiny of those I love. Woe to that man who leads a lonely life far from father and mother, far from brothers and sisters. Grief will not suffer him to enjoy whatever happiness should befall him; thoughts of his home weigh heavy upon him, of that beloved home of his fathers where the golden sun first opened the heavens to his view, and where as he played day by day with his brothers and sisters bonds grew up between them as precious and tender as any earth affords.
Verily for a woman is life hardest of all! A man, if fate favour him, will rule, will win fame on the field of battle; or, if the Gods have prepared for him a hard destiny, will fall, the first of his family, and die a noble death. But, as for the woman—her happiness is enclosed within narrow bounds, she must perpetually owe her well-being to others, often to strangers; and if destruction overtake her home, some conqueror will lead her forth from the smoking ruins, where those she loves best lie slain.
Yea, and here does Thoas keep me in this holy place in a kind of honourable slavery. What a difficult lot is mine I To serve thee, O Goddess, who art pure to all eternity, against my will! For so it is; my life is perforce dedicated to thee in everlasting service. Yet in thee too will I never cease to place my hope—in thee, O Goddess, who received me, the outcast daughter of the greatest of kings, into thy gentle and holy arms. O Goddess, daughter of Jove, thou hast led away from the fallen walls of Troy the godlike Agamemnon, whose daughter thou didst demand and who brought her, his darling child, as an offering to thine altar; thou hast led him back, covered with glory, to his native land, where thou didst keep safe for him my sister Electra and the boy Orestes, and our mother—those dearest treasures of his heart. Even so, 0 Goddess, who saved me aforetime from death, save me now from life in this place, which is none other than a second death.
(Dr. Steiner): There we have Goethe's original experience of the theme. And now we must picture to ourselves how later on, when he was in Italy, Goethe took up the unfinished works he had begun in Weimar and found them, as he frequently expressed it, Gothic or Nordic in character, rather like some rough wood-carving—strong and original, but without the perfection of line that is to be found, shall we say, in Raphael's paintings or in the sculptures of Michelangelo. And this finer artistic forming Goethe felt deeply impelled to bring into his own work. You will remember, it was in the contemplation of Goethe's poetry that Schiller, when he was writing his Aesthetic Letters, rose to that lofty conception of beauty to which he gave expression in the saying: In the annihilation of matter through form lies the secret of the art of the Master. What does this mean? Let me put it in the following way.
We can for instance tell something, expressing ourselves simply and directly, straight out of our feeling, straight out of our perception. That will lead to one kind of writing. But we can then go further and try to find a form. And now we shall no longer have merely the original matter and the original feeling, prosaically expressed; now the effect will be produced, not by these, but by form, by picture, by rhythm. In other words, the matter will have been vanquished by form. And it was in this vanquishing of matter by form that Schiller, as he came more and more under the influence of Goethe, believed he had found the secret of the art of the beautiful.
We will now listen to the corresponding passage in the second, the Roman, Iphigenie. What has Goethe done here? We shall find that he has tried to achieve such a complete conquest of the original matter by form, as to allow the form to work upon the listener, whereas in the prose drama it wasmore the theme itself that left its impression upon him.
(Frau Dr. Steiner): Monolog aus Iphigenie auf Tauris.
Heraus in eure Schatten, rege Wipfel
Des alten, heil'gen dichtbelaubten Haines,
Wie in der Göttin stilles Heiligtum,
Tret' ich noch jetzt mit schauderndem Gefühl,
Als wenn ich sie zum erstenmal beträte,
Und es gewöhnt sich nicht mein Geist hierher.
So manches Jahr bewahrt mich hier verborgen
Ein hoher Wille, dem ich mich ergebe;
Doch immer bin ich, wie im ersten, fremd.
Denn ach, mich trennt das Meer von den Geliebten
Und an dem Ufer steh' ich lange Tage
Das Land der Griechen mit der Seele suchend;
Und gegen meine Seufzer bringt die Welle
Nur dumpfe Töne brausend mir herüber.
Weh dem, der fern von Eltern und Geschwistern
Ein einsam Leben führt! Ihm zehrt der Gram
Das nächste Glück vor seinen Lippen weg.
Ihm schwärmen abwärts immer die Gedanken
Nach seines Vaters Hallen, wo die Sonne
Zuerst den Himmel vor ihm aufschloss, wo
Sich Mitgeborne spielend fest und fester
Mit sanften Banden aneinander knüpften.
Ich rechte mit den Göttern nicht; allein
Der Frauen Zustand ist beklagenswert.
Zu Haus' und in dem Kriege herrscht der Mann
Und in der Fremde weiss er sich zu helfen.
Ihn freuet der Besitz; ihn krönt der Sieg!
Ein ehrenvoller Tod ist ihm bereitet.
Wie enggebunden ist des Weibes Glück!
Schon einem rauhen Gatten zu gehorchen,
Ist Pflicht und Trost; wie elend, wenn sie gar
Ein feindlich Schicksal in die Ferne treibt!
So hält mich Thoas hier, ein edler Mann,
In ernsten, heil'gen Sklavenbanden fest.
O wie beschämt gesteh' ich, dass ich dir
Mit stillem Widerwillen diene, Göttin,
Dir meiner Retterin! Mein Leben sollte
Zu freiem Dienste dir gewidmet sein.
Auch hab' ich stets auf dich gehofft und hoffe
Noch jetzt auf dich, Diana, die du mich,
Des grössten Königes verstossne Tochter,
In deinen heil'gen, sanften Arm genommen
Ja, Tochter Zeus, wenn du den hohen Mann,
Den du, die Tochter fordernd, ängstigtest,
Wenn du den göttergleichen Agamemnon,
Der dir sein Liebstes zum Altare brachte,
Von Troja's umgewandten Mauern rühmlich
Nach seinem Vaterland zurück begleitet,
Die Gattin ihm, Elektren und den Sohn,
Die schönsten Schätze, wohl erhalten hast;
So gib auch mich den Meinen endlich wieder,
Und rette mich, die du vom Tod' errettet,
Auch von dem Leben hier, dem zweiten Tode!
IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS
Scene 1. A Grove before the Temple of Diana.
Beneath your leafy gloom, ye waving boughs
Of this old, shady, consecrated grove,
As in the goddess' silent sanctuary,
With the same shuddering feeling forth I step,
As when I trod it first, nor ever here
Doth my unquiet spirit feel at home.
Long as a higher will, to which I bow,
Hath kept me here conceal'd, still, as at first,
I feel myself a stranger. For the sea
Doth sever me, alas! from those I love,
And day by day upon the shore I stand,
The land of Hellas seeking with my soul;
But to my sighs, the hollow-sounding waves
Bring, save their own hoarse murmurs, no reply.
Alas for him! who friendless and alone,
Remote from parents and from brethren dwells;
From him grief snatches every coming joy
Ere it doth reach his lip. His yearning thoughts
Throng back for ever to his father's halls,
Where first to him the radiant sun unclosed
The gates of heav'n; where closer, day by day,
Brothers and sisters, leagued in pastime sweet,
Around each other twin'd love's tender bonds.
I will not reckon with the gods; yet truly
Deserving of lament is woman's lot.
Man rules alike at home and in the field,
Nor is in foreign climes without resource;
Him conquest crowneth, him possession gladdens,
And him an honourable death awaits.
How circumscrib'd is woman's destiny!
Obedience to a harsh, imperious lord,
Her duty, and her comfort; sad her fate,
Whom hostile fortune drives to lands remote!
Thus Thoas holds me here, a noble man,
Bound with a heavy though a sacred chain.
O how it shames me, Goddess, to confess
That with repugnance I perform these rites
For thee, divine protectress! unto whom
I would in freedom dedicate my life.
In thee, Diana, I have always hoped,
And still I hope in thee, who didst infold
Within the holy shelter of thine arm
The outcast daughter of the mighty king.
Daughter of Jove! hast thou from ruin'd Troy
Led back in triumph to his native land
The mighty man, whom thou didst sore afflict,
His daughter's life in sacrifice demanding—
Hast thou for him, the godlike Agamemnon,
Who to thine altar led his darling child,
Preserv'd his wife, Electra, and his son,
His dearest treasures?—then at length restore
Thy suppliant also to her friends and home,
And save her, as thou once from death didst save,
So now, from living here, a second death.
(From the translation by Anna Swanwick.)
(Dr. Steiner): There you can follow how the poetry comes into being. The poet himself shows it to us through the forming of the language. And even as we recite the poem, we find we can learn from its fully-formed speech how to develop and form our voice for its recitation.
I must, however, warn you that if you take a work that is genuinely artistic in its language (say, this Iphigenie, or Tasso), and prepare it for recitation—and this will apply even more if you prepare it for dramatic representation on the stage—you will at once find yourself faced with a certain danger. One is inclined to skip lightly over the emotional experience of the theme, and go straight to the more or less technical forming of the speech. It will accordingly be good to undertake beforehand the following preparation. Naturally, there is as a rule no time for it; stage life, as we know, is lived ‘on the run’. Still, that is no reason why I should not explain what the ideal preparation would be. Select what is essential in the poem and change it back from poetry into prose—doing, in fact, the reverse of what Goethe did, when from his prose Iphigenie he formed his Iphigenie in verse. We ought really to do this with every poem we set out to recite, and while we are speaking it in prose, give ourselves up to the feeling the content awakens in us. And then, having in this way done our utmost to unite ourselves in feeling with the drift and tenor of the poem, we can pass on to the artistic ‘forming’ of our speech in the poem itself. And we shall find that, provided we are able to make right use of the powers we have within us for the forming of speech, we shall then quite instinctively bring the feeling of the content, not only into the word, but into the very way we form the words.
We must now at this point say something about these forces that man has within him for the forming of his speech. They lie, in part, deep within the human organism—those for instance that we employ for the utterance of vowels being down in the lungs. They are, however, mainly in the organs of the larynx. Some have their seat of action still higher. These last are the forces that come into operation when, for example, we use the nose in speech; and they are active also in forming the space at the front of the mouth, and so on.
When we begin to consider man as a speaking human being, it follows quite as a matter of course that we are taken back from speech to the anatomy and physiology of speech. And we may then be tempted to look away from speech altogether and take for our study the anatomy and physiology of the speech organs. What is there to prevent me from concluding that if I once learn how to manage my lungs, and my diaphragm, and my nose-organs, then I shall be able, if it is given me to have any ability at all in speaking, to speak in the way that is right ?
Now, unfortunately—forgive my use of the word in this connection!—a very ably developed and thoroughly scientific physiology of speech has made its appearance in modern times. On the strength of this theoretical physiology of speech, all manner of suggestions can of course then be advanced for the management of the speech organs—in speaking, and also in singing. There is no difficulty about that sort of thing today. The strange thing is, however, that whilst in regard to the physiology of speech something like agreement has been reached, the methods of teaching singing and speaking are many and various, and the representatives of each expound the matter in a different way and give different directions. Well, we can let that remain a little mystery; I have no desire to delve into it any further just now. This is, however, not the road that leads to health, whether we are aiming at healthy speech organs or healthy speaking. We must take our start, as I have frequently explained, not from the speech organs, not from anatomy and physiology however well recognised and established, but from speech itself. We have to learn to look upon speech as an organism on its own account, we have to see it as something objective, detached from the human being.
In this speech organism of ours we have then, to begin with, the system of the vowels, from the very sound of which we can recognise at once their organic character. Now if you were going to describe man, you would I am sure find it best to proceed with your description in some sort of order, to correspond with his organism. You would not think of saying, for example: ‘Man consists of head, legs, breast, neck'; you would be more likely to say: `Man consists of head, neck, breast, legs’. And here too we must look for the right order. The speech organism is of course always in movement, and the elements of speech naturally become intermingled; but we can nevertheless hold this speech organism before our mind's eye, and contemplate it as something apart from the whole organism of man, contemplating it objectively as a kind of image or spectre, if you will. We are not, you see, regarding man now in the way anatomists and physiologists do, who look at the physical body and think to have there the whole of man. No; for we are regarding man's speaking as something outside him, though of course dependent on him for its forming
Taking then, first, the vowels, we shall find we can arrange them in the following order:
aei/oäöüu 1See Pull-out.
For what do we have when we give utterance to the vowels in this sequence: a e i o ä ö ü u We have, roughly speaking, all possible forms that the organs can take which come into use for the utterance of vowel sounds.
In a we have the speech organism wide open; it opens wide and lets itself right out.
This is less the case with e. The space through which the sound passes is somewhat narrowed; the e is, however, still quite far back in the mouth. The a is formed farthest back of all, and no forward part of the mouth interposes to modify the original elemental forming of the vowel a.
With i, the space through which the sound passes is still narrower; it is very nearly closed. The i passes through no more than a tiny rift. We are at the same time again still moving forward in the mouth.
We go farther forward and come to o. Here we are already in front of that narrow rift if we are forming the vowel in the right way. We go farther and farther forward, trying always to look for what is essential in the forming of the vowel, and come at length to ü and u in both of which the sound formation is very far forward.
While we are going through the vowels in this sequence: a e i o ä ö ü u, we have before us the speech organism as such, detached from the human being. And if we do this quite often, setting vowel beside vowel, careful always to seek out for each its exactly right place and not allowing one to merge into another, then the exercise itself will ensure that we have the absolutely right position in the mouth for each vowel. As you see, in our practice and training we take our start from speech. This then will be the first step. And now we can go further.
We can do exercises—I will presently give you some examples—which need not be clever or even sensible, since their sole purpose is to further the right speaking of vowels. Those of you who have already had lessons here in speech will know that for exercise we cannot give proper intelligent sentences; we have to give exercises in which each sound stands at the right place for it to find its way to the corresponding organ.
Suppose you take for an exercise the following sequence of words, giving special attention to the vowels:
Aber ich will nicht dir Aale geben, 2Ch (as in’ loch’), g (hard).
practising the sentence again and again with special intonation of the vowels: Aber ich will nicht dir Aale geben.
You will quickly be able to detect what this exercise does for you. As you do it, organ-forming forces begin to work in you. And you can feel where they are working, namely, in the direction of the organs that are situated farther back; as you continue to practise this sequence of words, you will find that lungs, larynx and even diaphragm are brought into a healthy condition.
For what are you doing when you speak the words: Aber ich will nicht dir Aale geben? You go, in the vowel, up to the point where the passage for the breath is most nearly blocked—a e i, speaking, so far, only vowels that lie behind this point. As you speak, you press back as it were at this point of greatest obstruction, not allowing your speaking to come beyond it. By this means you exercise lungs, larynx, and as far down as diaphragm. For you first move forward in the mouth up to this boundary line, but then go back again, keeping all the time strictly behind it. You have in the middle of the sentence i i i i; a e at the beginning, and a e again at the end. Working thus, you will be evolving from the speech organism no abstract physiology but a physiological forming of the organs. We have therefore here an important indication of methods that should be employed if we want to work beneficially on the more inward organs of speech. We set ourselves a boundary, when we put the i there in the middle of the sentence.
Take another sequence of words. As I said before, these sentences have no profound meaning, they are mere exercises.
O schäl' and schmor mühvoll mir mit Milch Nüss' zu Muss. 3Sch (sh), v (f). See Pull-out.
The words have very little sense, but the sequence of sounds accords well with the ‘sense’ of a particular speech process. For here you have again i i i in the middle, and again you divide off with the same boundary line what you want to leave out; but this time, in the rest of the sequence all the vowel sounds lie, not behind but in front of the boundary. If you try to speak the sentence in the way it should be spoken, you will have in it all the resonances you need—nasal resonance, head resonance; you will have them all. The sentence is spoken forward throughout. To speak well in the more forward part of the mouth is rather difficult; it can, however, be learned. And this sentence, once we have learned to speak it rightly, will do wonders for the health and mobility of the organs that are situated farther forward.
O schäl' and schmor miihvoll mir mit Milch Nüss' zu Muss.
I want you to understand that we are here making a practical attempt to work from speech into the forming of the organs, so that these shall acquire the necessary faculty of vibration. To get the best value from these exercises, you should speak the first sentence ten times, and then the second ten times; then the first and the second—one after the other— ten times. In this way it is actually possible to bring about a modification of the forms of the organs; and that will be most advantageous for the right speaking of vowels.
And now let me tell you of an exercise that is useful for the right forming of consonants. I am giving these exercises now as examples; we shall have others to add as the course proceeds. Take the following sequence of words:
Harte starke—and now do not immediately continue the sentence, but make a pause with a a a—Finger sind— wait again, and say i i i—bei wackern—a a a—Lenten schon— a a a—leicht—i i i—zu finden—u u u. 4 St (sht), ng (as in’ ring’), ei (as in’ height’), eu (oi), z (ts). This is then the little monster of a sentence that you have to speak:
Harte starke— a a a— Finger sind— iii— bei wackern— a a a— Leuten schon— a a a — leicht— i i i— zu finden— u u u—.
What is the good of such an exercise? I was telling you the other day that when we classify consonantal sounds according to the way they are spoken, we have sounds we can call ‘blown’ or ‘breath’ sounds, and others that we can call sounds of ‘impact’, or ‘thrust’ sounds. In actual speaking, the sounds are of course mixed up together; in order therefore to speak artistically we shall have to acquire a fluency that allows these two kinds of sounds to work harmoniously into and with one another. If we succeed in bringing this about, we shall find that we attain at the same time something else; namely, that this co-operation of blown sounds and impact sounds works back physiologically upon our organs. And so, working this time with consonants, we shall once more be bringing our organs into right vibration.
But now, in this exercise, in between blown sounds and impact sounds, vibrating sounds are interposed, and also wave sounds. We start with a blown sound h, and follow it up with an impact sound t; but in between we have the vibrating sound r; then again: blown sound, impact sound, vibrating sound, impact sound. We make blown sounds and impact sounds alternate, but the vibrating sound r has to come between, and also, in a corresponding manner, the ‘glide’ l, the wave sound. Through the practice of an exercise that obliges us to alternate blown sounds with impact sounds just in this way, we bring about a right configuration of the organs of speech.
We have first to let out the breath, then pull it up short, and from time to time interpose now a vibrating movement, now again a wave-like movement. And an exercise that provides this alternation—here letting the voice come to rest as far back as possible, here going into the middle, then back again, then once more into the middle, and finally forward—an exercise like this, because it has its source in the speech organism itself, will produce fluency and variety in our speaking. And while we are thus continually bringing our voice to rest at different places of our speech organism in turn, pausing a little at the middle when we are there, at other times going to the periphery, now backwards, now forwards—while we are doing this, not only shall we be forming our speech so that it becomes whole and healthy, but we shall at the same time be promoting the health also of the several organs.
You will therefore do well to practise such an exercise, which allows the consonant element in speech to work formatively upon the speech organs. (In this first part of our lecture course I am concerned primarily, as you know, with the forming of speech.)
Harte starke— a a a— Finger sind— iii— bei wackern— a a a— Leuten schon— a a a— leicht — i i i— zu finden— u u u—.
Here again, it will be best to do the exercises in succession, one after the other. If we call the first exercise A, the second B, the third C, then it will be: ten times A, ten times B, ten times A B, ten times C, ten times A B C. One should then pass on to some poem that gives opportunity to put this all into practice.
Here, however, we find ourselves up against a difficulty. For it is not exactly easy to come across passages in poetry where vowels and consonants are arranged purely out of the configuration of the speech organism. Poets are not always such good poets as to achieve this instinctively! I have, however, found a few verses which do very nearly fulfil the requirements of speech formation in certain respects and can accordingly be useful to us.
After you have been right through the exercises, repeating them in the order I recommended, and have in this way achieved fluency and ease in the use of your speech organs, you may then go straight on to speak the following verse by Kugler:
Und der Wandrer zieht von dannen,
Denn die Trennungsstunde ruft,
Und er singet Abschiedslieder.
Lebewohl tönt ihm hernieder,
Tücher wehen in der Luft.
This stanza, taken immediately after the speech exercises, can help considerably, for it is founded upon the nature of the speech organs themselves. The sounds are not entirely right throughout; I would have preferred, for example, not to have here— in ‘der Wandrer’— an e and an a, but one cannot expect perfection. If you have practised beforehand the exercises expressly designed to promote fluency, then a little verse like this will help you to come quite naturally into a right sounding—especially of vowels, and also in some measure of consonants.
Another verse that can prove useful in this direction is a stanza taken from the Ausgewanderter Dichter of Freiligrath:
Ich sonne mich im letzten Abendstrahle
Und leise säuselt über mir die Röster.
Du jetzt, mein Leben, wandelst wohl im Saale,
Der Teppich rauscht und strahlend flammt der Lüster.
Twice in this verse we come almost to the very front of the speech organs, and that gives the verse again the same character that I was able to point out to you in the other. Compare especially the i ü, and then the o and a, etc.
I have found also in a poem of Johann Peter Hebel's a verse that can be particularly helpful for exercising the speech organs that lie in front of the i:
Und drüber hebt si d'Suni in d'Höh
Und luegt in d'Welt und seit: wos muss i se
In aller Früi—Der Fridli schlingt si Arm
Ums Käterli und s'wird erm wol und warm,
Druf hat erm's Käterli ä Schmützli ge.
This is an excellent exercise for the nose and the other more forward organs. It should be practised often, and I recommend that in between the verses you repeat every time the whole series of exercises that I gave before. Thus, you begin with:
10 times A
10 times B
10 times A B
10 times C
10 times A B C.
Then you recite: Und der Wandrer zieht von dannen. Then take again the above series: A, B, AB, C, ABC. Then: Ich sonne mich im letzten Abendstrahle. Then once more the series: A, B, AB, C, ABC. And finally : Und drüber hebt si d'Suni still in d' Höh—, finishing up, that is, with this capital and droll little verse. And you will see, your organs will become quite wonderful; you will in very truth be finding your way, by sheer persistent practice, into a right forming of speech.
(A) Aber ich will nicht dir Aale geben.
(B) O schäl und schmor mühevoll mir mit Milch Nüss' zu Muss.
(C) Harte starke— a a a— Finger sind— i i i— bei wackern— a a a— Leuten schon— a a a— leicht— i i i— zu finden— u u u—. 4 For the curiosity of the student, a translation is added here of the sentences and verses given in this lecture as exercises.
(A) But I am not going to give you eels!
(B) Do please shell me some nuts and stew them up with milk to make a tasty dish!
(C) Strong and sturdy hands are not far to seek among good honest folk.
(Und der Wandrer...:) And the wanderer forth he wanders,
For the hour of parting's here,
And the farewell song he's singing.
To him God be with you 's ringing,
Kerchiefs wave upon the air.
(Ich sonne mich...:) Pond'ring I stand in the on-coming night,
The elms are softly whispering above.
But you now move through stately halls, my love,
Mid tapestries and brilliant blaze of light.
(Translation of verses by V. E. W.)
The following rendering of the dialect verse hails from a remote village in the East Riding of Yorkshire:
Aboonheead t' sun rises up i' t' sky,
Peeps into t' world an' sey:
What div ith see sea sean on t' moo'nin' ? Fred Hinging his aim round Katie, Feeling sea cuddlesome an' wahrm, An' giving her a reet good kiss.