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is this illustrated ? Of a diffuse writer, I does the style of different authors seem what was observed ; and of a concise to rise ? of a dry manner, what is obwriter, what, therefore, is certain ? served? Where, only, is it tolerable; What, however, is not to be inferred and what, even there, is requisite? Of from this; and why not? Who is a Aristotle, what is here observed? Why remarkable example of this; and of does not this manner deserve to be imihis sentences, what is observed? Of tated? What is remarked of a plain the style of most of the French wri- style? Of a writer of this character, ters, what is observed ? What does a what is observed? What does he purFrench author do; and what is the sue in his language? What, also, may direct effect of these short sentences ? | be consistent with a very plain style; What is the effect of the quick, succes- and therefore, what follows? What is sive impulses, which they make on the the difference between a dry and a mind? Of long periods, what is ob- plain writer ? Repeat the remarks here served? When is an intermixture of made on the style of Dean Swist. What, long and short sentences requisite ? But also, is remarked of Mr. Locke? In a of them, what is said ? How are the neat style, what have we reached; nervous and the feeble generally held? and of a writer of this character, what How does it appear that they o very is observed ? By whom may such a often coincide ? As this does not always style as this be attained; and how? hold, of what are there instances? Of it, what is remarked, and how exWho are examples; and of the latter tensively may it be used ? Of an elestyle, what is observed? Where is the gant style, what is observed ? From foundation of a nervous or weak style what has been formerly delivered, what laid ? How is this illustrated? Of his will be easily understood ? What farwords and expressions, what is obser-ther does it imply; and of an elegant ved? What impression does a ner- writer, what is observed? Whom may vous writer give us of his subject; and we place in this class; and of them why? What was before observed ? what is observed? What forms a florid How should every author study to ex-style? Of it, in a young composer, what press himself ? What remark follows; is remarked; and what says Quintilian? and when should strength predominate Why must not this style receive the in style? Hence, where is it expected same indulgence from writers of mamost ; and who is one of the most per-ture years? Of these frothy writers, fect examples? What holds of the ner- what is observed; and in them, what vous style as well as others? What is do we see? What has escaped them ? the effect of too great a study of strength; Or Mr. Hervey's Meditations, what is and from what does harsnness arise? Of observed ? In them, what justly merits whom is this reckoned the fault? Of applause; but what are of a false kind ? these writers, and of the language in What advice, to students of oratory, is their hands, what is observed? What therefore given? Why are admonitions illustration of this remark is given ? of this kind repeated ? What advantages attend this sort of = style? To what has the present form of
ANALYSIS. our language sacrificed the study of 1. Directions about the use of figures. strength ? Of our arrangement of words,
A. The chief beauties of composition do what is remarked ? What was the area
not depend upon them.
B. They must ‘rise naturally from the of the formation of our present style?
subject. Who was the first who laid aside those c. They snould not be employed too frefrequent inversions? Who polished the
quently. language still more? But to whom are
D. Without a genius for them, they should we most indebted for the present state
not be attempted.
2. Style, with respect to its expression. of our language; and of him, what is
A. The diffuse and the concise stylc. observed ? Since his time, to what has b. The nervous and the feeble style. considerable attention been paid; but 3. Style, with respect to ornairent. what follows ? How do we now com A. A dry style.' pare with the ancients ? Hitherto, how
B. A plain style.
c. A neat style. have we considered style? How do we D. An elegant style. now proceed to consider it? Here, how! E. A forid style.
GENERAL CHARACTERS OF STYLE.-SIMPLE, AFFECTED, VEHEMENT.-DIRECTIONS FOR
FORMING A PROPER STYLE.
Having entered, in the last lecture, on the consideration of the general characters of style, I treated of the concise and diffuse, the nervous and feeble manner. I considered style also, with relation to the different degrees of ornament employed to beautify it, in which view, the manner of different authors rises according to the following gradation : dry, plain, neat, elegant, fowery.
I am next to treat of style under another character, one of great importance in writing, and which requires to be accurately examined, that of simplicity, or a natural style, as distinguished from affectation. Simplicity, applied to writing, is a term very frequently used; but, like other critical terms, often used loosely and without precision. This has been owing chiefly to the different meanings given to the word simplicity, which, therefore, it will be necessary here to distinguish ; and to show in what sense it is a proper attri. bute of style. We may remark four different acceptations in which it is taken.
The first is, simplicity of composition, as opposed to too great a variety of parts. Horace's precept refers to this:
Denique sit quod vis simplex duntaxat et unum." This is the simplicity of plan in a tragedy, as distinguished from double plots, and crowded incidents; the simplicity of the Iliad, or Æneid, in opposition to the digressions of Lucan, and the scattered tales of Ariosto; the simplicity of Grecian architecture, in opposition to the irregular variety of the Gothic. In this sense, simplicity is the same with unity.
The second sense is simplicity of thought, as opposed to refinement. Simple thoughts are what arise naturally; what the occasion or the subject suggest unsought; and what, when once suggested, are easily apprehended by all. Refinement in writing, expresses a less natural and obvious train of thought, and which it required a peculiar turn of genius to pursue; within certain bounds very beautiful; but when carried too far, approaching to intricacy, and hurting us by the appearance of being recherché, or far sought. Thus, we would naturally say, that Mr. Parnell is a poet of far greater simplicity, in his turn of thought, than Mr. Cowley; Cicero's thoughts on moral subjects are natural; Seneca's too refined and laboured. In these two senses of simplicity, when it is opposed, either to variety of parts, or to refinement of thought, it has no proper relation to style
** Then learn the wandering bumour to control,
And keep one equal tenour through the whole.'
There is a third sense of simplicity, in which it has respect to style; and stands opposed to too much ornament or pomp of language; as when we say, Mr. Locke is a simple, Mr. Hervey a florid writer; and it is in this sense, that the simplex,' the 'tenue,' or
subtile genus dicendi,' is understood by Cicero and Quintilian. The simple style, in this sense, coincides with the plain or the neat style, which I before mentioned; and, therefore, requires no farther illustration.
But there is a fourth sense of simplicity, also, respecting style; but not respecting the degree of ornament employed, so much as the easy and natural manner in which our language expresses our thoughts. This is quite different from the former sense of the word just now mentioned, in which simplicity was equivalent to plainness : whereas, in this sense, it is compatible with the highest ornament. Homer, for instance, possesses this simplicity in the greatest perfection; and yet no writer has more ornament and beauty. This simplicity, which is what we are now to consider, stands opposed, not to ornament, but to affectation of ornament, or appearance of labour about our style; and it is a distinguishing excellency in writing.
A writer of simplicity expresses himself in such a manner, that every one thinks he could have written in the same way; Horace describes it,
ut sibi quivis
Ausus idem.* There are no marks of art in his expression: it seems the very language of nature; you see in the style, not the writer and his labour, but the man in his own natural character. He may be rich in his expression; he may be full of figures, and of fancy; but these flow from him without effort; and he appears to write in this manner, not because he has studied it, but because it is the manner of expression most natural to him. A certain degree of negligence, also, is not inconsistent with this character of style, and even not ungraceful in it; for too minute an attention to words is foreign to it: · Habeat ille,' says Cicero, (Orat. No. 77) molle quiddam, et quod indicet non ingratam negligentiam hominis, de re magis quàm de verbo laborantis.'t This is the great advantage of simplicity of style, that, like simplicity of manners, it shows us a man's sentiments and turn of mind laid open without disguise. More studied and artificial manners of writing, however beautiful, have always this disadvantage, that they exhibit an author in form, like a man at court, where the splendour of dress, and the ceremonial of behaviour, conceal those peculiarities which distinguish one man from another. But reading an author of simplicity, is like conversing with a person of distinction at home, and with ease, where we find natural manners, and a marked character.
*(From well-known tales such fictions would I raise,
As all might hope to imitate with ease;
Should find their labours, and their hopes in vain." + Let this style have a certain softness and ease, which shall characterize a neg ligence, not unpleasing in an author, who appears to be more solicitous about the thought than the expression.
The highest degree of this simplicity, is expressed by a French term, to which we have none that fully answers in our language, naïveté. It is not easy to give a precise idea of the import of this word. It always expresses a discovery of character. I believe the best account of it is given by a French critic, M. Marmontel, who explains it thus : That sort of amiable ingenuity, or undisguised openness, which seems to give us some degree of superiority over the person who shows it; a certain infantine simplicity, which we love in our hearts, but which displays some features of the character that we think we could have art enough to hide ; and which, therefore, always leads us to smile at the person who discovers this character. La Fontaine, in his Fables, is given as the great example of such naïveté. This, however, is to be understood, as descriptive of a particular species only of simplicity.
With respect to simplicity in general, we may remark, that the ancient original writers are always the most eminent for it. This happens from a plain reason, that they wrote from the dictates of natural genius, and were not formed upon the labours and writings of others, which is always in hazard of producing affectation. Hence, among the Greek writers, we have more models of a beautiful simplicity than among the Roman. Homer, Hesiod, Anacrcon, Theocritus, Herodotus, and Xenophon, are all distinguished for it. Among the Romans also, we have some writers of this character, particularly Terence, Lucretius, Phædrus, and Julius Cæsar. The following passage of Terence's Andria, is a beautiful instance of simplicity of manner in description.
Rejecit se in eum, Alens quam familiariter. * All the words here are remarkably happy and elegant; and convey a most lively picture of the scene described; while, at the same time,
* Meanwhile the funeral proceeds; we follow;
Come to the sepulchre: the body's placed
the style appears wholly artless and unlaboured. Let us, next, consider some English writers who come under this class.
Simplicity is the great beauty of Archbishop Tillotson's manner. Tillotson has long been admired as an eloquent writer, and a model for preaching. But his eloquence, if we can call it such, has been often misunderstood. For, if we include in the idea of eloquence, vehemence and strength, picturesque description, glowing figures, or correct arrangement of sentences, in all these parts of oratory the Archbishop is exceedingly deficient. His style is always pure, indeed, and perspicuous, but careless and remiss; too often feeble and languid; little beauty in the construction of his sentences, which are frequently suffered to drag unharmoniously; seldom any attempt towards strength or sublimity. But, notwithstanding these defects, such a constant vein of good sense and piety runs through his works, such an earnest and serious manner, and so much useful instruction conveyed in a style so pure, natural, and unaffected, as will justly recommend him to high regard, as long as the English language remains; not, indeed, as a model of the highest eloquence, but as a simple and amiable writer, whose manner is strongly expressive of great goodness and worth. I observed before, that simplicity of manner may be consistent with some degree of negligence in style, and it is only the beauty of that simplicity which makes the negligence of such writers seem graceful. But, as appears in the Archbishop, negligence may sometimes be carried so far as to impair the beauty of simplicity, and make it border on a flat and languid manner.
Sir William Temple is another remarkable writer in the style of simplicity. In point of ornament and correctness, he rises a degree above Tillotson; though, for correctness, he is not in the highest rank. All is easy and flowing in him; he is exceedingly harmonious; smoothness, and what may be called amenity, are the distinguishing characters of his manner; relaxing, sometimes, as such a manner will naturally do, into a prolix and remiss style. No writer whatever has stamped upon his style a more lively impression of his own character. In reading his works, we seem engaged in conversation with him; we become thoroughly acquainted with him, not merely as an author, but as a man; and contract a friendship for him. He may be classed as standing in the middle, between a negligent simplicity, and the highest degree of ornament, which this character of style admits.
Of the latter of these, the highest, most correct, and ornamented degree of the simple manner, Mr. Addison, is, beyond doubt, in the English language, the most perfect example: and, therefore, though not without some faults, he is, on the whole, the safest model for imitation, and the freest from considerable defects, which the language affords. Perspicuous and pure, he is in the highest degree; his precision, indeed, not very great, yet nearly as great as the subjects which he treats of require; the construction of his sentences easy, agreeable, and commonly very musical; carrying a character of smoothness more than of strength. In figurative language, he is rich, particularly in similes and metaphors; which are so employ