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turally be led to express the parts in the or der above mentioned; which at the fame time is agreeable by mounting upward. But considering the column as it stands without reference to its erection, the sense of order, as observed above, requires the chief part to be named first. For that reafon we begin with the shaft; and the base comes next in order, that we may ascend from it to the capital. Lastly, In tracing the particulars of any natural operation, order requires that we follow the course of nature. Historical facts are related in the order of time. We begin at the founder of a family, and proceed from him to his descendents. But in describing a lofty oak, we begin with the trunk, and ascend to the branches.
When force and liveliness of expression are aimed at, the rule is, to suspend the thought as much as possible, and to bring it out full and entire at the close. This cannot be done but by inverting the natural arrangement, and by introducing a word or member before its time. By such inversion our curiosity is raised about what is
to follow; and it is agreeable to have our curiosity gratified at the close of the period. Such arrangement produceth on the mind an effect fimilar to a stroke exerted upon the body by the whole collected force of the agent. On the other hand, where a period is so constructed as to admit more than one complete close in the sense, the curiosity of the reader is exhausted at the first close, and what follows appears languid or superAuous. His disappointment contributes also to this appearance, when he finds, that, contrary to his expectation, the period is not yet finished. Cicero, and after him Quintilian, recommend the verb to the last place. This method evidently tends to suspend the sense till the close of the pe riod; for without the verb the sense cannot be complete. And when the verb happens to be the capital word, which is frequently the case, it ought at any rate to be put last, according to another rule, above laid down. I proceed as usual to illustrate this rule by examples. The following period is placed in its natural order.
Were · Were instruction an essencial circumstance in epit poetry, I doubt whether a fingle inftance could be given of this species of composition, in any ladguage The period thus arranged admits a full close upon the word composition ; after which it goes on languidly, and closes without force. This blemish will be avoided by the following arrangement. · Were instruction an essential circumstance poetry, I doubt whether, in any language, a fingle instance could be given of this species of compolition.
Some of our most eminent divines have made use of this Platonic notion, as far as it regards the subsistence of our passions after death, with great beauty and strength of reason.
Spectator, No 90. Better thus :
Some of our most eminent divines have, with great beauty and strength of reason, made use of this Platonic notion, &c.
Men of the best sense have been touched, more
or less, with these groundless horrors and prefages of futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent works of nature.
Spesi ator, No 505
Vpen fürveying the most indifferent works of nature, men of the best sense, &C
She foon informed him of the place he was in, which, notwithstanding all its horrors, appeared to him more sweet than the bower of Mahomet, in the company of his Balfora.
Guardian, No 167, Better :
She foon, &c. appeared to him, in the company of his Balsora, more sweet, 636.
The Emperor was so intent on the establishment of his absolute power, in Hungary, that he exposed the Empire doubly to desolation and ruin for the sake of it.
Letters on biftory, vol. 1. let, 7. Bolingbroke.
- that for the sake of it he expofod the Empire doubly to defolation and ruin.
None of the rules for the composition of periods are more liable to be abufed, than those last mentioned: witness many Latin writers, among the moderns especially, whose style, by inversions too violent, is rendered harsh and obscure. Suspension of the thought till the close of the period, ought never to be preferred before perfpicuity. Neither ought such suspension to be attempted in a long period; because in that case the mind is bewildered among a profusion of words. A traveller, while he is puzzled about the road, relishes not the finest prospects.
All the rich presents which Astyages had given him at parting, keeping only fome Median horses, in order to propagate the breed of them in Perlia, he distributed among his friends whom he left at the court of Ecbatana.
Travels of Cyrus, book 1. The foregoing rules concern the arrangement of a single period. I shall add one rule more concerning the distribution of a discourse into different periods. A hort period is lively and familiar. A long pee