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passion, what follows ? It is a figure of presentation ? Repeat the passage. In what kind; what does it require; and order to render an antithesis more comwhy? Where does the proper place of plete, what is always of advantage ? comparison lie? Of this field, what is low does this lead us the more to reobserved ? But even here, of what must mark the contrast? Their resemblance we take care; and why? Even in poe- to each other, in certain circumstances, try, how should similes be used; and produces what effect? At the same why with much more in prose ? To time, on the frequent use of the antiwhat does our author next proceed? thesis, what is observed ? What senIn the first place, from what object tences from Seneca are here introshould they not be drawn; and why? duced? Why does a maxim, or moral In pointing out what, is there little art saying; properly receive this form ? or ingenuity? What illustrations of But when is an author's style faulty ? these remarks are given from Milton? How does such a style appear; and Among similes, faulty through too what impression does it give us ? Of Dr. great obviousness of the likeness, we Young, what is here observed ; and must likewise rank those taken from from his writings, what instances of what objects? What examples are this are given ? Or this style, what is given; and what writers use them ? observed ; and by what are we faIn whom had these comparisons beau-tigued? What other sort of antithesis ty; and why? At present, what is is there? In it, what may be shown; their effect; and what remark follows? but to what only does it belong ? What What is the difference, in this respect, instanceof happy antithesis is here introbetween a mere versifier, and an au-duced from Mr. Pope? In what does thor of real fancy? From what objects, the point of an epigram principally in the second place, ought not compari- consist ? Comparisons and antitheses sons to be drawn; and why not? are figures of what nature; and of What is also to be observed ? What what are they the productions ? What practice is directly opposite to the de- kind of figures are interrogations and sign of this figure? This is what au- exclamations? Why is their use exthor's common fault; and of his com-tremely frequent; and where do they parisons, generally, what is observed ? prevail as much as in the most sublime In the third place, from what objects oratory? What is the literal use of inshould comparisons never be drawn? terrogation; and when is it used as a What says Quintilian on this subject ? figurative expression ? What is there What comparisons, therefore, attain by expressed; and what appeal is not their proper effect? From what made ? What example is given from objects should they be taken? This the scriptures ? What example is also leads our author to remark what fault ? given from Demosthenes' address to Whence did the ancients take their simi- the Athenians? What is said of it ? les; and hence, what follows? Of the When may interrogations often be apadoption of these images by the mo-plied with propriety? But to what only derns, what is observed ? How is this do exclamations belong? By means of remark illustrated ? Every country has what do all passionate figures of speech what; and what follows? In the fourth operate upon us; and of it, what is place, what only has our author to ob- observed ? Hence, by a single person, serve ? Why should they not? Whose what effect may be produced ; and comparisons have been taxed on this what effect does it also produce on a account; but why without reason? great crowd? When interrogations and What remark follows?
exclamations are properly used, to What figures has our author now what do they dispose us; and why? considered? Or those that remain to From this, what follows ? With interbe mentioned, what is observed ? What rogations, what may he use; and why? is the difference between comparison | But with respect to exclamations, why and antithesis? Contrast has always must he be more reserved? What do what effect; and what instance is juvenile writers imagine ? But what is given ? For what purpose, therefore, their effect? How is this illustrated ; may antithesis be employed, on many and hence, what is our author inclined occasione, to advantage ? Thus Ciccro, to think? What remark follows? Why in his oration for Milo, makes what re-T is this the case? What other contri. vance, which is much akin to this, is , may it be carried on? What is the prinpractised by some writers? What may cipal instrument by which it works? this be called ? What other custom, What is the effect of climax in sense, which prevailed some time ago, is un- when well carried on? What example worthy of imitation? Though on some is given from Cicero? What one from occasions they may be very proper, a pleading of Sir George M'Kenzie ? yet, to what danger are we exposed by Of what must our author take notice, carrying them too far? If the sense relative to such regular climaxes; and point not out the most emphatical ex- why? pressions, what will give but little as- | sistance; and accordingly, what course
ANALYSIS have the most masterly writers latterly 1. Comparison. pursued? What is the next figure of A. Explaining comparisons. speech mentioned; what is meant by B. Embellishing comparisons. it; and when only should it be used?! Rules concerning comparisons. What example is given from Cicero? A. Obviousness of resemblance should What does this manner of description be avoided. suppose ; and when well executed, B. The likeness should not be too rewhat is its effect? But, in order to a mote. successful examination of it, what does c. They should not be drawn from it require ? Otherwise, what fate, will unknown objects. it share? To what other figures of D. They should not be taken from speech are the same observations low or mean objects. applicable; and in what proportion 2. Antithesis. are they beautiful? What remark fol-3. Interrogation. lows? What is the last figure of speech 4. Exclamation... mentioned ; and in what does it con-5. Vision. sist? Of it, what is observed; and how 16. Amplification.
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE.- GENERAL CHARACTERS
OF STYLE.—DIFFUSE, CONCISE, FEEBLE, NERVOUS.-DRY, PLAIN, NEAT, ELEGANT, FLOWERY.
Having treated at considerable length of the figures of speech, of their origin, of their nature, and of the management of such of them as are important enough to require a particular discussion, before finally dismissing this subject, I think it incumbent on me to make some observations concerning the proper use of figurative language in general. These, indeed, I have, in part, already anticipated. But as great errors are often committed in this part of style, especially by young writers, it may be of use that I bring together, under one view, the most material directions on this head.
I begin with repeating an observation, formerly made, that neither all the beauties, nor even the chief beauties of composition, depend upon tropes and figures. Some of the most sublime and most pathetic passages of the most admired authors, both in prose and poetry, are expressed in the most simple style, without any figure at all; instances of which I have before given. On the other hand, a composition may abound with these studied ornaments; the language may be artful, splendid, and highly figured, and yet the composition be on the whole frigid and unaffecting. Not to speak of sentiment and thought, which constitute the real and lasting merit of any work, it the style be stiff and affected, if it be deficient in perspicuity or pre
cision, or in ease and neatness, all the figures that can be employed will never render it agreeable: they may dazzle a vulgar, but will never please a judicious eye.
In the second place, figures, in order to be beautiful, must always rise naturally from the subject. I have shown that all of them are the language either of imagination, or of passion; some of them suggested by imagination, when it is awakened and sprightly, such as metaphors and comparisons; others by passion or more heated emotion, such as personifications and apostrophes. Of course, they are beautiful then only, when they are prompted by fancy, or by passion. They must rise of their own accord; they must flow from a mind warmed by the object which it seeks to describe; we should never interrupt the course of thought to cast about for figures. If they be sought after coolly, and fastened on as designed ornaments, they will have a miserable effect. It is a very erroneous idea, which many have of the ornaments of style, as if they were things detached from the subject, and that could be stuck to it, like lace upon a coat: this is indeed,
Purpureus late qui splendeat unus aut alter
ARs Poer. And it is this false idea which has often brought attention to the beauties of writing into disrepute. Whereas, the real and proper ornaments of style arise from sentiment. They flow in the same stream with the current of thought. A writer of genius conceives his subject strongly ; his imagination is filled and impressed with it; and pours itself forth in that figurative language which imagination naturally speaks. He puts on no emotion which his subject does not raise in him; he speaks as he feels; but his style will be beautiful, because his feelings are lively. On occasions, when fancy is languid, or finds nothing to rouse it, we should never attempt to hunt for figures. We then work, as it is said, 'invitâ Minervâ;' supposing figures invented, they will have the appearance of being forced; and in this case, they had much better be omit
In the third place, even when imagination prompts, and the subject naturally gives rise to figures, they must, however, not be em ployed too frequently. In all beauty, 'simplex munditiis,' is a capital quality. Nothing derogates more from the weight and dig. nity of any composition, than too great attention to ornament. When the ornaments cost labour, that labour always appears; though they should cost us none, still the reader or hearer may be surfeited with them; and when they come too thick, they give the impression of a light and frothy genius, that evaporates in show, rather than brings forth what is solid. The directions of the ancient critics, on this head, are full of good sense, and deserve careful attention. • Voluptatibus maximis,' says Cicero, de Orat. l. iii. fastidium finitimum est in rebus omnibus; quo hoc minus in oratione miremur.
• Shreds of purple with broad lustre shine,
In qua vel ex poetis, vel oratoribus possumus judicare, concinnam, ornatam, festivam, sine intermissione quamvis claris sit coloribus picta, vel poesis, vel oratio, non posse in delectatione esse diuturnâ. Quare, bene et præclare, quamvis nobis sæpe dicatur, belle et festive nimium sæpe nolo.'* To the same purpose are the excellent directions with which Quintilian concludes his discourse concerning figures, 1. ix. C. 3. Ego illud de iis figuris quæ vere fiunt, adjiciam breviter, sicut ornant orationem opportunæ positæ, ita ineptissimas esse cum immodice petuntur. Sunt, qui neglecto rerum pondere et viribus sententiarum, si vel inania verba in hos modos de pravarunt, summos se judicant artifices: ideoque non desinunt eas nectere; quas sine sententia sectare, tam est ridiculum quam quærere habitum gestumque sine corpore. Ne hæ quidem quæ rec tæ fiunt, densandæ sunt nimis. Sciendum imprimis quid quisque postulet locus, quid persona, quid tempus. Major enim pars harum figurarum posita est in delectatione. Ubi vero, atrocitate, invidia, miseratione pugnandum est; quis ferat verbis contrapositis, et consimilibus et pariter cadentibus, irascertem, flentem, rogantem? Cum in his rebus, cura verborum deroget affectibus fidem; et ubicunque ars ostentatur, veritas abesse videatur.'t After these judicious and useful observations, I have no more to add, on this subject, except this admonition:
In the fourth place, that, without a genius for figurative language, none should attempt it. Imagination is a power not to be acquired; it must be derived from nature. Its redundancies we may prune, its deviations we may correct, its sphere we may enlarge; but the faculty itself we cannot create: but all efforts towards a metaphorical ornamented style, if we are destitute of the proper genius for it, will prove awkward and disgusting. Let us satisfy ourselves, however, by considering, that without this talent, or at least with a very small measure of it, we may both write and speak to advantage. Good
*' In all human things, disgust borders so nearly on the most lively pleasures, that we need not be surprised to find this hold in eloquence. From reading either poets or orators we may casily satisfy ourselves, that neither a poem nor an ora. tion, which, without intermission, is showy and sparkling, can please us long Wherefore, though we may wish for the frequent praise of having expressed our. selves well and properly, we should not covet repeated applause, for being bright and splendid.
i must add, concerning those figures which are proper in themselves, that, as they beautify a composition when they are seasonably introduced, so they deform it greatly, if too frequently sought after. There are some who, neglecting strength of sentiment and weight of matter, if they can only force their empty words into a figurative style, imagine themselves great writers; and therefore continually string together such ornaments; which is just as ridiculous, where there is no sentiment to support them, as to contrive gestures and dresses for what wants a body. Even those figures which a subject admits, must not come too thick. We must begin with considering what the occasion, the time, and the person who speaks render proper. For the object aimed at by the greater part of these figures is entertainment. But when the subject becomes deeply serious, and strong passions are to be moved, who can bear the orator, who, in affected language and balanced phrases, endeavours to express wrath, commiseration, OI earnest entreaty ? On all such occasions, a solicitous attention to words weakens passion; and when so much art is shown, there is suspected to be little sincerity.'
sense, clear ideas, perspicuity of language, and proper arrangement of words and thoughts, will always command attention. These are indeed the foundations of all solid merit, both in speaking and wri. ting. Many subjects require nothing more; and those which admit of ornament, admit it only as a secondary requisite. To study and to know our own genius well; to follow nature; to seek to improve, but not to force it, are directions which cannot be too often given to those who desire to excel in the liberal arts.
When I entered upon the consideration of style, I observed that words being the copies of our ideas, there must always be a very intimate connexion between the manner in which every writer employs words, and his manner of thinking; and that from the peculiarity of thought and expression which belongs to him, there is a certain character imprinted on his style, which may be denominated his manner; commonly expressed by such general terms, as strong, weak, dry, simple, affected, or the like. These distinctions carry, in general, some reference to an author's manner of thinking, but ree. fer chiefly to his mode of expression. They arise from the whole tenour of his language; and comprehend the effect produced by all those parts of style which we have already considered; the choice which he makes of single words; his arrangement of these in sentences; the degree of his precision; and his embellishment, by means of musical cadence, figures, or other arts of speech. Of such general characters of style, therefore, it remains now to speak as the result of those underparts of which I have hitherto treated.
That different subjects require to be treated of in different sorts of style, is a position so obvious, that I shall not stay to illustrate it. Every one sees that treatises of philosophy, for instance, ought not to be composed in the same style with orations. Every one sees also, that different parts of the same composition require a variation in the style and manner. In a sermon, for instance, or any harangue, the application or peroration admits more ornament and requires more warmth, than the didactic part. But what I mean at present to remark is, that amidst this variety, we still expect to find in the compositions of any one man, some degree of uniformity or consiste ency with himself in manner; we expect to find some predominant character of style impressed on all his writings, which shall be suite ed to, and shall mark his particular genius and turn of mind. The orations in Livy differ much in style, as they ought to do, from the rest of his history. The same is the case with those in Tacitus. Yet both in Livy's orations, and in those of Tacitus, we are able clearly to trace the distinguishing manner of each historian; the magnificent fullness of the one, and the sententious conciseness of the other. The · Letters Persanes,' and 'L'Esprit des Loix,' are the works of the same author. They required very different compositions surely, and accordingly they differ widely; yet still we see the same hand. Wherever there is real and native genius, it gives a determination to one kind of style rather than another. Where nothing of this appears; where there is no marked nor peculiar character in the com