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As this is a truth which has been proved incontestably by many modern philosophers, and is indeed one of the finest speculations in that lcience, if the English reader would see the notion explained at large, he may find it in the eighth chapter of the second book of Mr. Locke's essay on human understanding.
Spectator, No. 413.
Better thus :
As this is a truth, &c. the English reader, if he would see the notion explained at large, may find it, &c.
A woman seldom asks advice before she has bought her wedding-cloaths. When she has made her own bice, for form's fake she sends a conge d'elire to her friends.
Ibid. No. 475.
Better thus :
-the sends, for form's fake, a conge d'elire to her
And since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon credit, where fraud is permitted or connived at, or hath no law to punish it, the honest dealer is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage.
Gulliver's Travels, part 1. chap. 6.
Better thus :
And since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon credit, the honest dealer, where fraud is permitted or connived at, or hath no law to punish it, is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage.
From these examples, the following observation
placed between two capital members of a period : for by such situation it must always be doubtful, as far as we gather from the arrangement, to which of the two members it belongs ; where it is interjected, as it ought to be, between parts of the member to which it belongs, the ambiguity is removed, and the capital members are kept distinct, which is a great beauty in composition. In general, to preserve members distinct that signify things distinguished in the thought, the best method is, to place first in the consequent member, some word that cannot connect with what precedes it.
If it shall be thought, that the objections here are too ferupulous, and that the defect of perspicuity is easily supplied by accurate punctuation; the answer is, That punctuation may remove an ambiguity, but will never produce that peculiar beauty which is perceived when the sense comes out clearly and diftin&tly by means of a happy arrangement. Such influence has this beauty, that by a natural transition of perception, it is communicated to the very found of the words, so as in appearance to improve the mufic of the period. But as this curious subject comes in more properly afterward, it is sufficient at present to appeal to experience, that a period so arranged as to bring out the sense clear, seems always more mufical than were the sense is left in any degree doubt. ful.
A rule deservedly occupying the second place, is, That words expressing things connected in the thought, ought to be placed as near together as poffible. This rule is derived immediately from human nature, prone in every instance to place together things in any manner connected :* where things are
* Sec chap. 1.
arranged according to their connections, we have a sense of order ; otherwise we have a sense of disorder, as of things placed by chance : and we naturally place words in the same order in which we would place the things they signify. The bad effect of a violent feparation of words or members thus intimately connected, will appear from the following examples.
For the English are naturally fanciful, and very often disposed, by that gloominess and melancholy of temper which is so frequent in our nation, to many wild notions and visions, to which others are not so liable.
Spectador, No. 419.
Here the verb or assertion is, by a pretty long cir. cumstance, violently separated from the subject to which it refers : this makes a harsh arrangement; the less excusable that the fault is easily prevented by placing the circumstance before the verb, after the following manner :
For the English are naturally fanciful, and, by that gloominefs and melancholy of temper which is fo frequent in our nation, are often disposed to many wild notions, &c.
For as no mortal author, in the ordinary fate and vicillitude of things, knows to what use his works may, fome time or other be applied, &c.
Spectator, No. 85.
Better thus :
For as, in the ordinary fate and vicissitude of things, no mortal author knows to what use, some time or other, his works may be applied, &c.
From whence we may date likewise the rivalship of the house of France, for we may reckon that of Valois and that
of Bourbon as one upon this occasion, and the house of Auftria, that continues at this day, and has oft colt so much blood and so much treasure in the course of it.
Letiers on history, vol. 1. let. 6. Bolingbroke.
It cannot be impertinent or ridiculous therefore in such a country, whatever it might be in the Abbot of St. Real's, which was Savoy I think; or in Peru, under the Incas, where Garcilasso de la Vega says it was lawful for none but the nobility to study---for men of all degrees to instruct themselves, in those affairs wherein they may be actors, or judges of those that act, or controllers of those that judge.
Letters on history, vol. 1. let. 5. Bolingbroke.
If Scipio, who was naturally given to women, for which anecdote we have, if I mistake not, the authority of Polybius, as well as some verses of Nevius preserved by Aulus Gellius, had been educated by Olympias at the court of Philip, it is improbable that he would have restored the beautiful Spaniard.
Ibid. let. 3.
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 person 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 recal 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 againit all that Mr. Partridge, or his accomplices of the Portugal inquisition, will be ever able to object ;
whe, by the way, are the only encmies 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 fubfiftence, &c.
A modeft proposal, &c. Swift.
There being throughout this kingdom, a round million of creatures in human figure, whose whole fubfistence, &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 inanners.
Guardian, No. 162.
It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they
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.
The arrangement here leads to a wrong fense, as if the ground were taken up, not the paper.---Better thus :
It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they fee 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 extenfive operation : and