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I. Form; whether tall or short, fleshy or thin, &c.

II. Face, features, hair, expression, &c.

III. Manners; dignified, graceful, awkward, haughty, or affable.
IV. Dress.

V. Any peculiarity of appearance.

VI. Character, disposition, mental abilities, &c.

§ 421. Two graphic specimens of this kind of description are given below: one from Cooper, representing a well-drawn character in his "Last of the Mohicans"; the other, from the elegant pen of Bulwer.


The person of this remarkable individual was to the last degree ungainly, without being in any particular manner deformed. He had all the bones and joints of other men, without any of their proportions. Erect, his stature surpassed that of his fellows tough, seated, he appeared reduced within the ordinary limits of our race. The same contrariety in his members seemed to exist throughout the whole man. His head was large; his shoulders, narrow; his arms, long and dangling; while his hands were small, if not delicate. His legs and thighs were thin nearly to emaciation, but of extraordinary length; and his knees would have been considered tremendous, had they not been outdone by the broader foundations on which this false superstructure of blended human orders was so profanely reared. The ill-assorted and injudicious attire of the individual only served to render his awkwardness more conspicuous. A sky-blue coat, with short and broad skirts and low cape, exposed a long thin neck, and longer and thinner legs, to the worst animadversions of the evil-disposed. His nether garment was of yellow nankeen, closely fitted to the shape, and tied at his bunches of knees by large knots of white ribbon, a good deal sullied by use. Clouded cotton stockings, and shoes, on one of the latter of which was a plated spur, completed the costume of the lower extremity of this figure, no curve or angle of which was concealed, but, on the other hand, studiously exhibited, through the vanity or simplicity of its owner. From beneath the flap of an enormous pocket of a soiled vest of embossed silk, heavily ornamented with tarnished silver lace, proJected an instrument [a tuning fork], which, from being seen in such martial company, might have been easily mistaken for some mischievous and unknown implement of war. Small as it was, this uncommon engine had excited the curiosity of most of the Europeans in the camp, though several of the provincials were seen to handle it, not only without fear, but with the utmost familiarity. A large civil cocked hat, like those worn by clergymen within the last thirty years, surmounted the whole, furnishing dignity to a good-natured and somewhat vacant countenance, that apparently needed such artificial aid to support the gravity of some high and extraordinary trust.


At once vain, yet high-minded,-resolute, yet impassioned,-there was a gorgeous magnificence in her very vanity and splendor, and ideality in her waywardness: her defects made a part of her brilliancy; without them she would have seemed less woman, and, knowing her, you would have compared all women by her standard. Softer qualities beside her seemed not more charming, but more insipid. She had no vulgar ambition, for she had obstinately refused many alliances which the daughter of Raselli could scarcely have hoped to form. The untutored minds and savage power of the Roman nobles seemed to her imagination, which was full of the poetry of rank (its muxury and its graces), as something barbarous and revolting, at once to be dreaded and

despised. She had, therefore, passed her twentieth year unmarried, but not, perhaps, without love. The faults themselves of her character, elevated that ideal of love which she had formed. She required some being round whom all her vainer qualities could rally; she felt that where she loved she must adore; she demanded no common idol before which to humble so strong and imperious a mind. Unlike women of a gentler mould, who desire for a short period to exercise the caprices of sweet empire, when sho loved she must cease to command, and ride, at once, be humbled to devotion. So rare were the qualities that could attract her, so imperiously did her haughtiness require that those qualities should be above her own, yet of the same order, that her love elevated its object like a god. Accustomed to despise, she felt all the luxury it is to venerate! And if it were her lot to be united to one thus loved, her nature was that which might become elevated by that it gazed on.

For her beauty, reader, shouldst thou ever go to Rome, thou wilt see in the capitol The picture of the Cumaan Sibyl, which, often copied, no copy can even faintly represent; why this is so called I know not, save that it has something strange and unearthly in the dark beauty of the eyes. I beseech thee, mistake not this sibyl for another, for the Roman galleries abound in sibyls. The sibyl I speak of is dark, and the face has an Eastern cast; the robe and turban, gorgeous though they be, grow dim before the rich but transparent roses of the cheek; the hair would be black save for that golden glow which mellows it to a hue and lustre never seen but in the South, and even in the South most rare; the features, not Grecian, are yet faultless; the mouth, the brow, the ripe and exquisite contour, all are human and voluptuous; the expression, the aspect, is something more; the form is, perhaps, too full for the ideal of loveliness, for the proportions of sculpture, for the delicacy of Athenian models; but the luxuriant fault has a majesty. Gaze long upon that picture: it charms, yet commands, the eye. While you gaze, you call back five centuries. You see before you the breathing image of Nina di Raselli


Write a Criticism on either of these extracts.



§ 422. Narration is the account of real or imaginary facts or events. A neat or an elegant style is most effective for this kind of writing, in which too much ornament is out of place. Events should be related in the order of their occurrence, and in such a way that the interest of the reader may be kept alive.

§ 422. What is narration? What style is recommended for this kind of writing? In what order should events be related?

§ 423. Argument is the statement of reasons for or against a proposition, made with the view of inducing belief in others. Clearness and strength are essential to its success. Little, if any, ornament is necessary; to this element of composition, a neat, diffuse style is appropriate.

§ 424. Exposition consists in explaining the meaning of an author, in defining terms, setting forth an abstract subject in its various relations, or presenting doctrines, precepts, principles, or rules, for the purpose of instructing others. A treatise on grammar, for instance, consists principally of exposition. Clearness being the chief object, and the nature of the subject in most cases almost entirely excluding ornament, this kind of matter should be presented in a neat, concise, style.

§ 425. Speculation is the expression of theoretical views not as yet verified by fact or practice. It enters largely into works on metaphysics, and is best understood through the medium of a neat, simple, style.

§ 426. A specimen of narration follows:


In one of those terrible eruptions of Mount Etna which have often happened, the danger of the inhabitants of the adjacent country was uncommonly great. To avoid Immediate destruction from the flames and the melted lava which ran down the sides of the mountain, the people were obliged to retire to a considerable distance. Amidst the hurry and confusion of such a scene, every one fleeing and carrying away whatever he deemed most precious, two brothers, in the height of their solicitude for the preservation of their wealth and goods, suddenly recollected that their father and mother, both very old, were unable to save themselves by flight. Filial tenderness triumphed over every other consideration. "Where," cried the generous youths, "shall we find a more precious treasure than they are, who gave us being, and who have cherished and protected us through life?" Having said this, the one taking up his father on his shoulders, and the other his mother, they happily made their way through the surrounding smok and flames. All who were witnesses of this dutiful and affectionate conduct were struck with the highest admiration; and they and their posterity ever after called the plain through which these young men made their retreat, "The Field of the Pious".

§ 423. What is argument? In what style is it best presented?

§ 424. In what does exposition consist? Of what, for instance, does it form the principal part? What is the chief object in exposition? What style is appropriate

to it?

$425. What is speculation? Into what does it largely enter? Through what style is it tevi anderstood?


I. Amplify the above specimen of narration, presenting it entirely in your own language.

II. Amplify the following heads into a specimen of narration, in the style of the above model, using your own language. throughout.


Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, though surrounded by riches and pleasures, was far from being happy. [Why?]

Damocles, one day, complimented him on his power, and affirmed that no monarch was ever greater or happier than he.

Dionysius asked him whether he would like to make trial of this happiness, and see whether it was as great as he imagined.

On Damocles' gladly consenting, the king ordered a gilded couch to be brought in for him, a splendid banquet to be prepared, and the royal pages to wait on him as if he were their monarch. [Describe the banquet.]

Damocles was intoxicated with pleasure. But, chancing to look up, as he lay luxuriously pillowed on his royal couch, he saw a glittering sword suspended from the ceiling, by a single hair, exactly over his head.

This sight put an end to his joy. The rare perfumes and inviting dishes had lost their charm. [Describe his feelings in detail.] Finally, leaping from the couch, he besought the king to allow him to return to his former humble position. [Moral which Dionysius, in his answer, drew from this act of his courtier, with respect to the happiness of kings.]



§ 427. There are six leading divisions of Prose Composition; Letters, Narratives, Fiction, Essays, Theses or Argu mentative Discourses, and Orations.


§428. Definition.-A Letter is a written communication on any subject from one person to another.

§ 427. Enumerate the six leading divisions of prose composition.

§ 428. What is a letter? What is letter-writing commonly called? What is said


Letter-writing is commonly called Epistolary Correspond It is one of the most important branches of compo sition, entering more largely than any other into the daily business of life.

The form of the letter has often been used for essays, novels, histories, &c.; that is, these productions have been divided into parts, each of which commences with an address to some friend of the author or imaginary personage, as if it had passed as an actual communication. Such compositions, however, should be classed under the divisions to which, according to their matter, they respectively belong. The letter proper is one intended for the person to whom is addressed.

§ 429. Varieties.—The principal kinds of letters are,

I. News Letters, or communications to papers or periçdi. cals, containing accounts of what has happened or is happening elsewhere than at the place of publication.

Such communications have lately become popular, and now form a feature of almost all leading newspapers. In these letters, profundity is not expected, unless they treat of political, religious, or other serious topics. They should rather be characterized by brilliancy of thought, and an original, striking, mode of expression. Their effect may often be increased by strokes of humor, and what is commonly called piquancy, or a pleasing vein of sarcasm on persons and things in general. Taste and judgment are required for a proper selection of subjects. The space allowed, being generally limited, should be filled to the best advantage. Local matters should be avoided; it is well to introduce no topics but those of general interest.

II. Letters of business. In these, brevity and clearness are all-important. The writer should aim at the greatest degree of conciseness consistent with perspicuity, and should confine himself strictly to the business in hand.

III. Official letters, or such as pass between men in office, respecting public affairs. These are always formal, and

of its importance? For what is the form of the letter often used? How should such compositions be classed? What is the letter proper? § 429. What are the principal kinds of letters? What are news letters? What is seid of the popularity of news letters? What is not expected in them? By what should they be characterized? What often increases their effect? What topics should be selected for such letters? What are required in letters of business? To what must they be confined? What is meant by official letters? Describe them? In letters

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