Page images

ued sound. A period of which the members are connected by copulatives, produceth an effect upon the mind approaching to that of a continued found; 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 ledateness and leisure in the speaker : on the other hand, one in the hurry of passion neglecting copulatives and other particles, expresies the principal image only; and for that reason, hurry or quick action is best expressed without copulatives :

Veni, vidi, vici.

-Ite :
Ferte citi Hammas, date vela, impellite remos.

Æneid. iv. 593.

Quis globus, O civis, caligine volvitur atra?
Ferte citi ferrum; date tela, scandite muros.
Hoftis adeft, eja.

Æneid. ix. 37

In this view Longinus* juftly compares copulatives in a period to strait tying, which in a race obstru&ts the freedom of motion.

It follows, that a plurality of copulatives in the fame period ought to be avoided : for if the laying aside copulatives give force and“ liveliness, a redundancy of them mult render the period languid. T* appeal to the following instance, though there are but two copulatives.

Upon looking over the letters of my female correspondenis, I find several from women complaining of jealous


* Treatise of the Sublime, cap. 16.

husbands; and at the fame time protesting their owa innocence, and desiring my advice upon this occalion.

Spectator, No. 170.


I except the case where the words are intended to express the 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 his sirloin of beef. “ Beef,” said the fage magiftrate, " is the king of meat : Beef comprehends in it the quintessence of partridge, and quail, and venison, and pheasant, and plum-pudding, and cultard.

Tale of a Tub, § 4.

And the author shows 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 quinteilence of beef, muiton, veal, venison, partridges, plum-pudding, and cuitard."

[ocr errors][merged small]

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 reas

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 halty furvey : "14he latter cafe 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 the words or materials. This branch of the subject is no less nice than extensive ; and I despair of letting it in a clear light, cxcept 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 fuffering. This object is expressed by a substantive noun ; its action is expressed by an active verb; and the thing affected by the action is expreffed by another subftantive noun: its suffering or pallive state is expreffed ly a paflive 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 under-parts ; cacli of the substantives as well as the vob, may be qualified : time, place, purpose, motive, means, instrument, and a thousand other circumsances, may be neceffary to complete the thought. And in what manner these several parts are cernected in the expression, will appear from what follows.

In a complete thought or mental proposition, all the members and parts are mutually related, some Nighly, some intimately. To put such a thought in words, it is not sufficient that the component ideas be clearly expreffed ; it is also necessary, that all the relations contained in the thought be expreffed according to their different degrees of intimacy. To annex a certain nieaning to a certain sound or word,

[ocr errors]


* See Demetrius Phalereus of Elocution, rect. 63,

[ocr errors]

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 a secret, it would puzzle, I am apt to think, the acutest grammarian, to invent an expeditious method : and yet, by the guidance merely of nature, the rude and illiterate have been led to á method to perfeët, 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 poffefied of that quality : the verb write is applied to some person who writes ; and the adverbs moderately, diligently, have plainly a reference to fome 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 declension serves to ascertain their connection: If the word that expresses the subject be, for example, in the nominative cafe, fo also must the word be that exprefTes its quality ; example, vir bonus : again, verbs are related, on the one hand, to the agent, and, on the oiher, to the subject upon which the action is exerted : and a contrivance familar to that now mentioned, ferves to express the double relation; the nominative case is appropriated to the agent, the accusative to the par. five subject; and the verb is put in the fuft, fecond, or third person; to intimate its connection with the


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


word that signifies the agent : examples, Ego ame Tulliam ; il amas Semproniam ; Brutus amat Portiam. The other method is by juxtaposition, which is neceflaту with reļpcct to such words only as are not declined, adverbs, for example, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. In the English languague there are few declensions; and therefore juxtaposition is our chief refource : adjectives accompany their substantives ;* an Jverb accompanies the word il qualifies ; and the verb occupies the middle place between the active and paslive subjects to which it relates.

It must be obvious, that those terms which have nothing relative in their signification, cannot be conniected in fo eafy a manner.

When two substantives happen to be connected, as cause and effect, as principal and acceffory, or in any other manner, such connection cannot be expressed by contiguity folely ; for words muit often in a period be placed together which are noi thus related : the relation between fubftantives, therefore, cannot otherwise be expressed but by particies 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, betwecn Casar and his hoile, is expressed by putting the latter in the nominative case, the former in the genitive: equus Cafaris : the faine is also expressed in English without the aid of a particle, Cefar's borse. But in other inftances, declensions not being used in the English


Taking advantage ofa dccienGap to separate an adjective from its fub. frantive, as is commonly practised in Latin, though it detra&t not from perfi:1041, is certainly less near than the Englih method of juxtapofirion, Concies is more expreffive of an in:imate relation, ihan relembarce merely of the firal Callabimos.- Latin inderd has evidently the advantage when ihe arljentive and iubitant re happen to be conurcica br* contioviy, as well as by ichumbiance of the fival syllables.

« PreviousContinue »