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Speaking of Hannibal's elephants drove back by the enemy upon
his own army :
Eo magis ruere in suos belluæ, tantoque majorem stragem edere quam inter hostes ediderant, quanto acrius pavor consternatam agit, quam insidentis magistri imperio regitur.-Liv. l. 27. § 14.
This passage is also faulty in a different respect, that there is no resemblance between the members of the sentence, though they express a simile.
The present head, which relates to the choice of materials, shall be closed with a rule concerning the use of copulatives. Longinus observes, that it animates a period to drop the copulatives; and he gives the following example from Xenophon.
Closing their shields together, they were push'd, they fought, they slew, they were slain.-Treatise of the Sublime, cap. 16.
The reason I take to be what follows. A continued sound, if not loud, tends to lay us asleep; an interrupted sound rouses and animates by its repeated impulses. Thus feet composed of syllables, being pronounced with a sensible interval between each, make more lively impressions than can be made by a continued sound. A period of which the members are connected by copulatives, produceth an effect upon the mind approaching to that of a continued sound; and therefore the suppressing copulatives must animate a description. It produces a different effect akin to that mentioned; the members of a period connected by proper copulatives, glide smoothly and gently along; and are a proof of sedateness and leisure in the speaker; on the other hand, one in the hurry of passion, neglecting copulatives and other particles, expresses the principal image only; and, for that reason, hurry or quick action is best expressed without copulatives :
Veni, vidi, vici.
Ferte citi flammas, date vela, impellite remos.-Eneid. iv. 593.
Quis globus, O civis, caligine volvitur atra?
Ferte citi ferrum, dete tela, scandite muros.
In this view Longinus* justly compares copulatives in a period to strait tying, which in a race obstructs the freedom of motion.
It follows, that a plurality of copulatives in the same period ought to be avoided; for if the laying aside copulatives gives force and liveliness, a redundancy of them must render the period languid. I appeal to the following instance, though there are but two copu latives.
Upon looking over the letters of my female correspondents, I find several from women complaining of jealous husbands; and, at the same time, protesting their own innocence, and desiring my advice upon this occasion.-Spectator, No. 170.
I except the case where the words are intended to express the *Treatise of the Sublime, cap. 16.
coldness of the speaker, for there the redundancy of copulatives is a beauty :
Dining one day at an alderman's in the city, Peter observed him expatiating, after the manner of his brethren, in the praises of a sirloin of beef."Beef," said the sage magistrate," is the king of meat: beef comprehends in it the quintessence of patridge, and quail, and venison, and pheasant, and plum-pudding, and custard."-Tale of a Tub, § 4.
And the author shews great delicacy of taste by varying the expression in the mouth of Peter, who is represented more animated :
"Bread," says he, " dear brothers, is the staff of life; in which bread is contained, inclusive, the quintessence of beef, mutton, veal, venison, partridges, plum-pudding, and custard."
Another case must also be excepted. Copulatives have a good effect where the intention is to give an impression of a great multitude consisting of many divisions: for example, "The army was composed of Grecians, and Carians, and Lycians, and Pamphylians, and Phrygians. The reason is, that a leisurely survey, which is expressed by the copulatives, makes the parts appear more numerous than they would do by a hasty survey: in the latter case the army appears in one group; in the former, we take, as it were, an accurate survey of each nation and of each division.*
We proceed to the second kind of beauty, which consists in a due arrangement of words or materials. This branch of the subject is no less nice than extensive; and I despair of setting it in a clear light, except to those who are well acquainted with the general principles that govern the structure or composition of language.
In a thought, generally speaking, there is at least one capital object considered as acting or as suffering. This object is expressed by a substantive noun; its action is expressed by an active verb; and the thing affected by the action is expressed by another substantive noun; its suffering or passive state is expressed by a passive verb ; and the thing that acts upon it by a substantive noun. Beside these, which are the capital parts of a sentence or period, there are generally underparts; each of the substantives as well as the verb, may be qualified; time, place, purpose, motive, means, instrument, and a thousand other circumstances, may be necessary to complete the thought. And in what manner these several parts are connected in the expression, will appear from what follows.
In a complete thought, or mental proposition, all the members and parts are mutually related, some slightly, some intimately. To put such a thought in words, it is not sufficient that the component ideas be clearly expressed; it is also necessary, that all the relations contained in the thought be expressed according to their different degrees of intimacy. To annex a certain meaning to a certain sound or word requires no art; the great nicety in all languages is, to express the various relations that connect the parts of the thought. Could we suppose this branch of language to be still
Demetrius Phalereus of Elocution. 63.
a secret, it would puzzle, I am apt to think, the acutest gramma. rian, to invent an expeditious method; and yet, by the guidance merely of nature, the rude and illiterate have been led to a method so perfect, as to appear not susceptible of any improvement; and the next step in our progress shall be to explain that method.
Words that import a relation must be distinguished from such as do not. Substantives commonly imply no relation; such as animal, man, tree, river. Adjectives, verbs, and adverbs, imply a relation the adjective good must relate to some being possessed of that quality; the verb write is applied to some person who writes; and the adverbs moderately, diligently, have plainly a reference to some action which they modify. When a relative word is introduced, it must be signified by the expression to what word it relates, without which the sense is not complete. For answering that purpose, I observe in Greek and Latin two different methods. Adjectives are declined as well as substantives: and declensions serve to ascertain their connexion; if the word that expresses the subject be, for example, in the nominative case, so also must the word be that expresses its quality; example vir bonus. Again, verbs are related, on the one hand, to the agent, and on the other, to the subject upon which the action is exerted; and a contrivance similar to that now mentioned, serves to express the double relation; the nominative case is appropriated to the agent, the accusative to the passive subject; and the verb is put in the first, second, or third person, to intimate the connexion with the word that signifies the agent; examples, Ego amo Tulliam; tu amas Semproniam; Brutus amat Portiam. The other method is by juxtaposition; which is necessary with respect to such words only as are not declined, adverbs, for example, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. In the English language there are few declensions, and, therefore, juxtaposition is our chief resource; adjectives accompany their substantives;* an adverb accompanies the word it qualifies; and the verb occupies the middle place between the active and passive subjects to which it relates.
It must be obvious, that those terms which have nothing relative in their signification, cannot be connected in so easy a manner. When two substantives happen to be connected, as cause and effect, as principal and accessory, or in any other manner, such connexion cannot be expressed by contiguity solely; for words must often, in a period, be placed together which are not thus related. The relation between substantives, therefore, cannot otherwise be expressed but by particles denoting the relation. Latin, indeed, and Greek, by their declensions, go a certain length to express such relations without the aid of particles. The relation of property, for example, between Cæsar and his horse, is expressed by
"Taking advantage of a declension to separate an adjective from its substantive, as is commonly practised in Latin, though it detract not from perspicuity, is certainly less neat than the English method of juxtaposition. Contiguity is more expressive of an intimate relation, than resemblance merely of the final syllables. Latin, indeed, has evidently the advantage when the adjective and substantive happen to be connected by contiguity, as well as by resemblance of the final syllables.
putting the latter in the nominative case, the former in the genitive, equus Cæsaris; the same is also expressed in English without the aid of a particle, Casar's horse. But in other instances, declensions not being used in the English language,_relations of this kind are commonly expressed by prepositions. Examples: That wine came from Cyprus. He is going to Paris. The sun is below the horizon.
This form of connecting by prepositions is not confined to substantives. Qualities, attributes, manner of existing or acting, and all other circumstances, may in the same manner be connected with the substances to which they relate. This is done artificially by converting the circumstance into a substantive; in which condition it is qualified to be connected with the principal subject by a preposition, in the manner above described. For example, the adjective wise being converted into the substantive wisdom, gives opportunity for the expression "a man of wisdom," instead of the more simple expression a wise man; this variety in the expression enriches language. I observe, besides, that the using a preposition in this case is not always a matter of choice: it is indispensable with respect to every circumstance that cannot be expressed by a single adjective or adverb.
To pave the way for the rules of arrangement, one other preliminary is necessary; which is, to explain the difference between a natural style, and that where transposition or inversion prevails. There are, it is true, no precise boundaries between them, for they run into each other like the shades of different colours. No person, however, is at a loss to distinguish them in their extremes; and it is necessary to make the distinction, because though some of the rules I shall have occasion to mention are common to both, yet each have rules peculiar to itself. In a natural style, relative words are, by juxtaposition, connected with those to which they relate, going before or after according to the peculiar genius of the lan. guage. Again, a circumstance connected by a preposition, follows naturally the word with which it is connected. But this arrangement may be varied when a different order is more beautiful. A circumstance may be placed before the word with which it is connected by a preposition; and may be interjected even between a relative word and that to which it relates. When such liberties are frequently taken, the style becomes inverted or transposed.
But as the liberty of inversion is a capital point in the present subject, it will be necessary to examine it more narrowly, and, in particular, to trace the several degrees in which an inverted style. recedes more and more from that which is natural. And, first, as to the placing a circumstance before the word with which it is connected, I observe, that it is the easiest of all inversion, even so easy as to be consistent with a style that is properly termed natural; witness the following examples:
In the sincerity of my heart, I profess, &c.
By our own ill management. we are brought to so low an ebb of wealth and credit, that, &c.
On Thursday morning there was little or nothing transacted in Change-alley, At St. Bride's church, in Fleet-street, Mr. Woolston (who wrote against the miracles of our Saviour), in the utmost terrors of conscience made a public recantation.
The interjecting a circumstance between a relative word, and that to which it relates, is more properly termed inversion; because, by a disjunction of words intimately connected, it recedes farther from a natural style. But this license has degrees; for the disjunction is more violent in some instances than in others. And to give a just notion of the difference, there is a necessity to enter a little more into an abstract subject than would otherwise be my inclination.
In nature, though a subject cannot exist without its qualities, nor a quality without a subject, yet, in our conception of these, a material difference may be remarked. I cannot conceive a quality but as belonging to some subject; it makes, indeed, a part of the idea which is formed of the subject. But the opposite holds not; for though I cannot form a conception of a subject void of all qualities, a partial conception may be formed of it abstracting from any particular quality: I can, for example, form the idea of a fine Arabian horse without regard to its colour, or of a white horse without regard to its size. Such partial conception of a subject is still more easy with respect to action or motion; which is an occasional attribute only, and has not the same permanency with colour or figure. I cannot form an idea of motion independent of a body; but there is nothing more easy than to form an idea of a body at rest. Hence it appears, that the degree of inversion depends greatly on the order in which the related words are placed. When a substantive occupies the first place, the idea it suggests must subsist in the mind at least for a moment independent of the relative words afterwards introduced; and that moment may, without difficulty, be prolonged by interjecting a circumstance between the substantive and its connexions. This liberty, therefore, however frequent, will scarce alone be sufficient to denominate a style inverted. The case is very different where the word that occupies the first place denotes a quality or an action; for as these cannot be conceived without a subject, they cannot, without greater violence, be separated from the subject that follows; and, for that reason, every such separation, by means of an interjected circumstance, belongs to an inverted style.
To illustrate this doctrine, examples are necessary; and I shall begin with those where the word first introduced does not imply a relation.
-Nor Eve to iterate
Her former trespass fear'd.
-Hunger and thirst at once,
Moon that now meet'st the orient sun, now fli'st