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I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining,
A bark o'er the waters move gloriously on;
The bark was still there, but the waters were gone." “Seldom, indeed, had Athens witnessed such a scene. The ground that formed the original site of the garden had from time to time received continual additions; and the whole extent was laid out with that perfect taste, which knows how to wed Nature with Art, without sacrificing her simplicity to the alliance. Walks leading through wildernesses of shade and fragrance--glades opening, as if to afford a pleasure-ground for the sunshine-temples, rising on the very spots where Imagination herself would have called them up—and fountains and lakes, in alternate motion and repose, either wantonly courting the verdure, or calmly sleeping in its embrace : such was the variety of feature that diversified these fair gardens; and animated, as they were on this occasion, by the living wit and loveliness of Athens, it afforded a scene such as my own youthful fancy, rich as it was then in images of luxury and beauty, could hardly have anticipated.”
THE SUBLIME IN WRITING. For the best and most perfect examples of this, the Bible must be consulted. In its very first chapter, how sublime is the declaration, “God said, Let there be light, and there was light!"
Read, also, portions of the Psalms of David-the book of Job, and the prophecies of Isaiah, and others. These may be referred to again in the chapter on the Poetry of the Bible, which will deserve particular study.
Milton, Young, Pollok, and other poets, abound in fine examples of the sublime. Dr. Chalmers excels among prose writers.
Dr. Young thus addresses Night:
An awful pause! prophetic of her end."
A. (1.) When it elevates the mind, and makes it, as it were, superior to the cares and troubles of this
world : (2.) when it infuses any sublime affection, as devoted piety, universal benevolence, the love of virtue and of our country : (3.) when it affects the mind with an awful and imaginary, but not unpleasing horror: (4.) when it describes the sentiments or actions of those persons whose character is very elevated, and (5.) when it conveys a lively idea of any grand appearance, natural, artificial, or imaginary.
Q. What is properly termed a sublime style :
Ă. That which makes us readily conceive any great object or sentiment in a lively manner; and this is often done when the words are very plain and simple. When bold figures and high-sounding expressions are employed without a corresponding elevation of thought, they become ridiculous, and are called bombust, or false sublime.
OF STYLE AND IDIOM. Q. What do you understand by Style as applied to writing ?
A. The particular manner in which a writer or speaker expresses his thoughts by means of language.
Q. From what is the word style derived ?
A. From the Latin word stylus, a pointed steel instrument, with which the ancients used to write upon their waxen boards and tablets.
Q. Is there much diversity of style among men?
A. Very great ; as almost every writer has a style or manner peculiar to himself; though in some this is more marked and striking than in others. .Q. On what does this diversity of style depend ?
A. Partly on mental constitution ; partly on the nature and quality of the education which a person may have received.
Q. Who are the men that are most distinguished by peculiarity of style?
A. Those, generally, of greatest genius, greatest vigor of mind, or of highest mental cultivation. Q. Can you state the difference between style and idiom? A. Style is characteristic of different writers ; idiom
of different languages : hence we speak of the style of Addison, but of the idiom of the English language.
Q. What do you consider, then, the true import of idiom?
A. That peculiarity in the mode of expression, and arrangement of words, which distinguishes one language from another.
Q. Do languages differ much in point of idiom ?
A. Very considerably ; modes of expression and arrangement appearing quite proper in one, which would be harsh and uncouth in another.
OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF STYLE.
A. The strong, the weak, the simple, the florid, the concise, the diffuse.
Q. What do you mean by a strong or vigorous style ?
A. A style that makes a deep and powerful impression upon the mind of the hearer or reader.
Q. And what by a weak or feeble style ?
A. A style that has little power of arresting the attention, or exciting the feelings of the reader or hearer.
Q. Can you express your opinion of a simple style ?
A. Simple style is that in which there is little apparent labor, and no attempt at any thing but merely to be understood.
Q. And what do you mean by a florid style?
Ă. Style in which there is great profusion of orna ment, and an obvious desire to produce effect.
Q. What have you to say of the concise style ?
Ă. It is the style which a writer or speaker uses, who expresses his thoughts in very few words.
Q. And what of the diffuse?
Ă. Diffuse style is that which persons employ, who express themselves very fully, and dwell long on the same thoughts.
Q. Are there any more qualities of style?
A. Yes; but it is impossible to enumerate them all, for they are as diversified as the characters of men's
minds, and the occasions on which they require to speak or write ? Q. What do you mean by a natural style ?
A. A style in strict accordance with the rules and principles of the language, in which a person speaks or writes, and such as one, deeply impressed with his subject, uses without apparent effort or labor.
Q. What is a bombastic style ? A. A style in which great swelling words are employed to express common thoughts.
Q: When should one kind of style be used in preference to another?
A. That depends entirely upon the nature of the subject, as well as the occasion on which a person may be called to speak or write.
[Note. For examples of different kinds of style, let the scholar be requested to make selections from books or periodicals: Mrs. Tuthill's Young Ladies' Reader" is a valuable book of reference.)
OF PERSPICUITY. Q. What do you conceive to be the greatest excellence of style cc whatever class it belongs ?
A. Perspicuity, or that quality which enables us to see at once an author's meaning, and renders it impossible for us to misunderstand it.
Q. What quality stands next to perspicuity in importance ?
A. Ornament, or elegance, which, joined with perspicuity, forms the highest excellence that style can possess.
Q. What renders perspicuity so essential in style ?
Ă. The circumstance of its being necessary that composition should be easily understood; for without this no other quality is of any value.
Q. On what does perspicuity depend ?
A. Partly on the choice of words, and partly on their structure in sentences.
Q. What are the chief things to be attended to in the choice of words?
A. Purity, Propriety, and Precision.
Q. What arrangement of words, or structure et sentences, do you think best?
A. That, whatever it may be, which is best fitted to express the meaning intended to be conveyed.
Ă. The use of such words and modes of expression as are perfectly English, and warranted by good authority. Q. What do you consider a violation of purity ?
A. The use of such words as are either foreign to the language, or have become antiquated by disuse.
Q. Can you give an example of the violation of purity in respect of foreign words?
A. Fraicheur, for coolness; fougue, for turbulence; politesse, for politeness, are examples of French words used instead of English.
Q. Can you give an example of the latter species of violation of purity ?
A. Behest, for command; erst, for formerly; and sith, for since, are now of this class, though they were once in common use.
Q. What is the standard of purity ?
A. The practice and authority of the best speakers and writers.
Q. Are words much subject to change?
A. Almost as much so as any thing connected with human affairs.
Q. In what manner do they suffer these changes ?
X. On some occasions they change their signification; as, let once signified to hinder; on others they drop out of use, or become obsolete; as, strook, which once was used instead of struck.
Q. In what does purity of construction consist ?
A. In the arranging of words in a sentence accord. ing to the English idiom, or mode of expression. Q. Can you give any examples of the violation of this principle?
Ă. “He will repent himself of such conduct,” is a French, not an English mode of expression.