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fame object for the sake of variety. But perspicuity ..ought never to be sacrificed to any other beauty,
which leads me to think that the passage may be improved as follows ::“ and degenerating from the customs of their own nation, they were gradually afsimilated to the natives, instead of reclaiming them from their uncultivated manners.”
The next rule in order, because next in importance, is, That the language ought to correspond to the subject : heroic actions or sentiments require elevated language ; tender sentiments ought to be exprefied in words soft and flowing ; and plain language void of ornament, is adapted to subjects grave and didactic. "Language may be considered as the 'dress of thought; and where the one is not suited to the other, we are sensible of incongruity, in the same manner as where a judge is dresied like a fop, or a peasant like a man of quality. Where the impression made by the words resembles the impression made by the thought, the fimilar emotions mix sweetly in the mind and double the pleasure ;* but where the impressions made by the thought and the words are diflimilar, the unnatural union they are forced into is disagreeable.t
This concordance between the thought and the words has been observed by every critic, and is so well understood as not to require any illustration.
But there is a concordance of a peculiar kind, that has scarcely been touched in works of criticism, though it contributes to neatness of composition. It is what follows. In a thought of any extent, we commonly find some parts intimately united, fome slightly, fome disjoined, and some directly opposed to each other. To find these conjunctions and dis.
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Chap. 2. part 42
junctions imitated in the expression, is a beauty s because such imitation makes the words concordant with the fense. This doctrine may be illustrated by a familiar example. When we have occafion to mention the intimate connection that the soul hath with the body, the expression ought to be, the foul and body ; because the particle the, relative to both, makes a connection in the expression, resembling in some degree the connection in the thought : but when the soul is diftinguished from the body, it is better to say the soul and the body; because the disa junction in the words resembles the disjunction in the thought. I proceed to other examples, beginning with conjunctions.
Constituit agmen ; et expedire tela animofque, equitibus juffis, &c.
Livy, l. 38. $ 25. Here the words that express the connected ideas are artificially connected by subjecting them both to the regimen of one verb. And the two following are of the same kind.
Quum ex paucis quotidie aliqui eorum caderent aut vul. nerarentur, et qui superarent, fcili et corporibus et animis effent, &C.
Livy, l. 33. § 29.
Post acer Mnestheus adducto conftitit arcu,
Eneid, v. 507.
But to justify this artificial connection among the „Words, the ideas they express ought to be intimately connected ; for otherwise that concordance which is required between the sense and the expression will be impaired. In that view, a passage from Tacitus
is exceptionable ; where words that signify ideas very little connected, are however forced into an artificial union. Here is the paffage :
Germania omnis a Galliis, Rhætiisque, et Pannoniis, Rhepo et Danubio fluminibus ; a Sarinatis Dacisque, mutuo metu aut montibus separatür.
De moribus Germanorum.
Upon the same account, I esteem the following passage equally exceptionable.
The fiend look'd up and knew
Paradise Loft, b. 4. at the end.
There is no natural connection between a person's flying or retiring, and the succession of day-light to darknefs ; and therefore to connect artificially the terms that signify these things cannot have a sweet effect.
Two members of a thought connected by their rełation to the fame action, will naturally be expressed by two members of the period governed by the same verb : in which cale thefe members, in order to improve their connection, ought to be constructed in the same manner. This beauty is fo common among good writers, as to have been little attended to ; but the neglect of it is remarkably disagreeable : For example, “ He did not mention Leonora, nor that her father was dead.” Better thus : “He did not mention Leonora, nor her father's death."
Where two ideas are fo connected as to require but a copulative, it is pleasant to find a connection in the words that express these ideas, were it even so flight as were both begin with the lanie letter : B 3
The peacock in all his pride, does not display half the colour that appears in the garments of a British lady, when the is either dresed for a ball or a birth day.
Spectator, No. 265.
Had not my dog of a steward run away as he did, without making up his accounts, I had still been emersed in fin and sea coal.
Ibid. No. 530.
My life's companion and mv bofoin-friend,
Dryden, Translation of Æneid. There is sensibly a defect in neatness when uniformity in this case is totally neglected ;* witness the following exainple, where the conítruction of two members connected by a copulative is unnecessarily varied.
For it is confidently reported, that two young gentlemen of real hopes, bright wit, and profound judgment, who upon a thorough examination of c:ufes and effects, and by the mere force of natural abilities, without the least uincture of learning, have made a discovery that there was no God, and generously communicating their thoughts for the good of the public, were some time ago, by an unparalleled leverity, and upon I know not what obfolete law, broke tor blasphemy.t (Better thus :)-having made a discovery that there was no God, and having generously communicated their thoughts for the good of the public, were some time ago, &c.
He had been guilty of a fault for which his master would have put him to death; had he not found an opportunity to escape out of his hands, and fled into the defarts of Numidia.
Guardian, No. 139.
* See Girard's French Grammar, discourse 12.
+ An argument against abolishing Christianity, Swifi.
: If all the ends of the Revolution are already obtained, it is not only impertinent to argue for obtaining any of them, but factious designs might be inputed, and the name of incendiary be applied with some colour, perhaps, to any one who should perlift in presling this point.
Difertation upon parties, Dedication.
Next as to examples of disjunction and opposition in the parts of the thought, imitated in the expreffion ; an imitation that is distinguished by the name of antithesis.
Speaking of Coriolanus foliciting the people to be made consul :
With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
Had you rather Cæfar were living, and die all flaves, than thai Cæfar were dead, to live all free men ?
He hath cool'd my friends and heated mine'enemies.
An artificial connection among the words, is un. doubtedly a beauty when it represents any peculiar connection among the constituent parts of the thought ; but where there is no such connection, it is a positive deformity, as above observed, because it makes a discordance between the thought and expression. For the same reason, we ought also to avoid every artificial opposition of words where there is none in the thought. This last, termed verbal antithesis, is studied by low writers, because of a certain degree of liveliness in it. They do not confider how incongruous it is, in a grave composition, to cheat the reader, and to make him expect a con