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If any one have a curiosity for more specimens of this kind, they will be found without number in the works of the same author.
A pronoun, which saves the naming a person or thing a second time, ought to be placed as near as possible to the name of that son or thing. This is a branch of the foregoing rule; and with the reason there given another concurs, viz. That if other ideas intervene, it is difficult to recall the person or thing by reference.
If I had leave to print the Latin letters transmitted to me from foreign parts, they would fill a volume, and be a full defence against all that Mr. Partridge, or his accomplices of the Portugal inquisition, will be ever able to object; who, by the way, are the only enemies my predictions have ever met with at home or abroad. Better thus:
-and-be a full defence against all that can be objected by Mr. Partridge, or his accomplices of the Portugal inquisition; who, by the way, are, &c. There being a round million of creatures in human figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence, &c.-A modest Proposal, &c. Swift.
There being throughout this kingdom a round million of creatures in human figure, whose whole subsistence, &c.
Tom is a lively impudent clown, and has wit enough to have made him a pleasant companion, had it been polished and rectified by good manners.-Guardian No. 162.
It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they see any printed or written paper upon the ground, to take it up, and lay it aside carefully, as not knowing but it may contain some piece of their Alcoran.-Spectator, No. 85.
arrangement here leads to a wrong sense, as if the ground were taken up, not the paper. Better thus:
It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they see upon the ground any printed or written paper, to take it up, &c.
The following rule depends on the communication of emotions to related objects; a principle in human nature that hath an extensive operation; and we find this operation even where the objects are not otherwise related than by juxtaposition of the words that express them. Hence, to elevate or depress an object, one method is, to join it in the expression with another that is naturally high or low; witness the following speech of Eumenes to the Roman
Causam veniendi sibi Romam fuisse, præter cupiditatem visendi deos homines que, quorum beneficio in ea fortuna esset, supra quam ne optare quidem auderet, etiam ut coram moneret senatum ut Persei conatus obviam iret.-Lioy, l. 13. cap. 11.
To join the Romans with the gods in the same enunciation is an artful stroke of flattery, because it tacitly puts them on a level. On the other hand, the degrading or vilifying an object, is done success. fully by ranking it with one that is really low:
I hope to have this entertainment in a readiness for the next winter, and doubt not but it will please more than the opera or puppet-show.-Spectator, No. 28.
Manifold have been the judgments which heaven, from time to time, for the chastisement of a sinful people, has inflicted upon whole nations. For when the degeneracy becomes common, 'tis but just the punishment should be general. Of this kind, in our own unfortunate country, was that destructive pestilence, whose mortality was so fatal as to sweep away, if Sir William Petty may be believed, five millions of Christian souls, besides women and Jews.-God's revenge against Punning. Arbuthnot.
Such also was that dreadful conflagration ensuing in this famous metropolis of London, which consumed, according to the computation of Sir Samuel Moreland, 100,000 houses, not to mention churches and stables.-Ibid.
But on condition it might pass into a law, I would gladly exempt both lawyers of all ages, subaltern and field-officers, young heirs, dancing-masters, pickpockets, and players. An infallible Scheme to pay the public Debt. Swift.
Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall
Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all.-Rape of the Lock.
Circumstances in a period resemble small stones in a building, employed to fill up vacuities among those of a larger size. In the arrangement of a period, such under-parts crowded together make a poor figure, and never are graceful but when interspersed among the capital parts. I illustrate this rule by the following example:
It is likewise urged, that there are, by computation, in this kingdom, above 10,000 parsons, whose revenues, added, to those of my Lords the Bishops, would suffice to maintain, &c.-Argument against abolishing Christianity. Swift.. Here two circumstances, viz. by computation and in this kingdom, are crowded together unnecessarily; they make a better appearance separated in the following manner :
It is likewise urged, that, in this kingdom, there are, by computation, above 10,000 parsons, &c.
If there be room for a choice, the sooner a circumstance is introduced the better; because circumstances are proper for that coolness of mind with which we begin a period as well as a volume: in the progress the mind warms, and has a greater relish for matters of importance. When a circumstance is placed at the beginning of the period, or near the beginning, the transition from it to the principal subject is agreeable: it is like ascending or going upwards. On the other hand, to place it late in the period has a bad effect; for, after being engaged in the principal subject, one is with reluctance brought down to give attention to a circumstance. Hence evidently the preference of the following arrangement :
Whether in any country a choice altogether unexceptionable has been made, seems doubtful.
Before this other,
Whether a choice altogether unexceptionable has, in any country, been made, &c.
For this reason the following period is exceptionable in point of arrangement :
I have considered formerly, with a good deal of attention, the subject upon which you command me to communicate my thoughts to you.-Bolingbroke on the Study of History, letter 1.
which, with a slight alteration, may be improved thus:
I have formerly, with a good deal of attention, considered the subject, &c.
Swift, speaking of a virtuous and learned education :
And although they may be, and too often are, drawn, by the temptations of youth, and the opportunities of a large fortune, into some irregularities when they come forward into the great world, it is ever with reluctance and compunction of mind, because their bias to virtue still continues.-The Intelligencer, No. 9.
And although, when they come forward into the great world, they may be, and too often, &c.
The bad effect of placing a circumstance last, or late in a period, will appear from the following examples:
Let us endeavon to establish to ourselves an interest in him who holds the reins of the whole creation in his hands.-Spectator, No 12.
Let us endeavour to establish to ourselves an interest in him, who in his hand holds the reins of the whole creation.
Virgil, who has cast the whole system of Platonic philosophy, so far as it relates to the soul of man, into beautiful allegories, in the sixth book of his Eneid, gives u the punishment &c.-Spectator, No. 90.
Virgil, who, in the sixth book of his Æneid, has cast, &c.
And Philip the Fourth was obliged at last to conclude a peace on terms repugnant to his inclination, to that of his people, to the interest of Spain, and to that of all Europe, in the Pyrenean treaty
Lett rs on History, vol. 1. let. 6. Bolingbroke.
And at last, in the Pyrenean treaty, Philip the Fourth was obliged to conclude a peace, &c.
In arranging a period, it is of importance to determine in what part of it a word makes the greatest figure; whether at the begin. ning, during the course, or at the close. The breaking silence rouses the attention, and prepares for a deep impression at the beginning; the beginning, however, must yield to the close; which being suc. ceeded by a pause, affords time for a word to make its deepest im. pression.* Hence the following rule, That to give the utmost force to a period, it ought, if possible, to be closed with that word which makes the greatest figure. The opportunity of a pause should not be thrown away upon accessories, but reserved for the principal object, in order that it may make a full impression; which is an additional reason against closing a period with a circumstance. There are, however, periods that admit not such a structure; and in that case, the capital word ought, if possible, to be placed in the front, which, next to the close, is the most advantageous for making an impression. Hence, in directing our discourse to a man of figure, we ought to begin with his name; and one will be sensible of a de
*To give force or elevation to a period, it ought to begin and end with a long syllable. For a long syllable makes naturally the strongest impression; and of all the syllables in a period, we are chiefly moved with the first and last, -Demetrius Phalereus, of Elocution, sect. 39.
gradation when this rule is neglected, as it frequently is for the sake of verse. I give the following examples:
Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
Non eget Mauris jaculis, neque arcu,
Nec venenatis gravidâ sagittis,
Fusce, pharetrâ.-Horat. Carm. l. 1. ode 22.
Je crains Dieu, cher Abner, et n'ai point d'autre crainte,
In these examples, the name of the person addressed to makes a mean figure, being like a circumstance slipped into a corner. this critcism is well-founded, we need no further proof than Addison's translation of the last example:
O Abner! I fear my God, and I fear none but him.
O father, what intends thy hand she cry'd,
Guardian, No. 117.
Against thy father's head ?-Paradise Lost, book 2. l. 727.
Every one must be sensible of a dignity in the invocation at the beginning, which is not attained by that in the middle. I mean not, however, to censure this passage; on the contrary, it appears beautiful, by distinguishing the respect that is due to a father from that which is due to a son.
The substance of what is said in this and the foregoing section, upon the method of arranging words in a period, so as to make the deepest impression with respect to sound as well as signification, is comprehended in the following observation: That order of words in a period will always be the most agreeable, where, without obscuring the sense, the most important images, the most sonorous words, and the longest members, bring up the rear.
Hitherto of arranging single words, single members, and single circumstances. But the enumeration of many particulars in the same period is often necessary, and the question is, In what order they should be placed? It does not seem easy, at first view, tỏ bring a subject apparently so loose under any general rule: but luckily, reflecting upon what is said in the first chapter about order, we find rules laid down to our hand, which leave us no task but that of applying them to the present question. And, first, with respect to the enumerating particulars of equal rank, it is laid down in the place quoted, that as there is no cause for preferring any one before the rest, it is indifferent to the mind in what order they be viewed. And it is only necessary to be added here, that for the same reason, it is indifferent in what order they be named. Secondly, if a number of objects of the same kind, differing only in size, are to be ranged along a straight line, the most agreeable order to the eye is that of an increasing series. In surveying a number of such objects, beginning at the least, and proceeding to greater and greater, the mind swells gradually with the successive objects, and in its progress has a very sensible pleasure. Precisely for the same reason words expressive of such objects ought to be placed in the same order. The beauty of this figure, which may be termed a climax in sense, has escaped Lord Bolingbroke in the first member of the following period.
Let but one great, brave, disinterested, active man arise, and he will be received, followed, and almost adored.
The following arrangement has sensibly a better effect:
Let but one brave, great, active, disinterested man arise, &c. Whether the same rule ought to be followed in enumerating men of different ranks, seems doubtful; on the one hand, a number of persons presented to the eye in form of an increasing series, is undoubtedly the most agreeable order; on the other hand, in every list of names, we set the person of the greatest dignity at the top, and descend gradually through his inferiors. Where the purpose is to honour the persons named according to their rank, the latter order ought to be followed; but every one who regards himself only, or his reader, will choose the former order. Thirdly, as the sense of order directs the eye to descend from the principal to its greatest accessory, and from the whole to its greatest part, and in the same order through all the parts and accessories till we arrive at the minutest; the same order ought to be followed in the enumeration of such particulars. I shall give one familiar example. Talking of the parts of a column, the base, the shaft, the capital, these are capable of six different arrangements, and the question is, Which is the best? When we have in view the erecting a column, we are naturally led to express the parts in the order above-mentioned; which at the same time is agreeable by ascending. But considering the column as it stands, without reference to its erection, the sense of order, as observed above, requires the chief part to be named first; for that reason we begin with the shaft, and the base comes next in order, that we may ascend from it to the capital. Lastly,
in tracing the particulars of any natural operation, order requires that we follow the course of nature. Historical facts are related in the order of time. We begin at the founder of a family, and proceed from him to his descendants; but in describing a lofty oak, we begin with the trunk, and ascend to the branches.
When force and liveliness of expression are demanded, the rule is to suspend the thought as long as possible, and to bring it out full and entire at the close, which cannot be done but by inverting the natural arrangement. By introducing a word or member before its time, curiosity is raised about what is to follow; and it is agreeable to have our curiosity gratified at the close of a period : "the pleasure we feel resembles that of seeing a stroke exerted upon a body by the whole collected force of the agent. On the other hand, where a period is so constructed as to admit more than one complete close in the sense, the curiosity of the reader is exhausted at the first close, and what follows appears languid or superfluous; his disappointment contributes also to that appearance, when he finds, contrary to expectation, that the period is not yet finished. Cicero, and after him Quintilian, recommended the verb to the last place. This method evidently tends to suspend the sense till the close of the period, for without the verb the sense cannot be complete; and when the verb happens to be the capital word, which it frequently is, it ought at any rate to be the last, according to another rule above