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 Edition: ed; Page: [ 65 ] reason there given, another concurs, viz.
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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 against all that Mr. Partridge, or his accomplices of the Portugal inquisition, will be ever able Edition: current; Page: [ ] to object; who, by the way, are the only enemies my predictions have ever met with at home or abroad. 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 manners.
It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they see any Edition: ed; Page: [ 66 ] 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. The arrangement here leads to a wrong sense, as if the ground were taken up, not the paper.
The following rule depends on the communication of emotions to related objects; a principle in human nature that hath an extensive operation: and we find this operation, even where the objects are not otherwise related Edition: current; Page: [ ] than by juxtaposition of the words that express them. Hence, to elevate or depress an object, one method is, to join it in the expression with another that is naturally high or low: witness the following speech of Eumenes to the Roman senate.
Causam veniendi sibi Roman fuisse, praeter cupiditatem visendi deos hominesque, quorum beneficio in ea fortuna esset, supra quam ne optare quidem auderet, etiam ut coram moneret senatum ut Persei conatus obviam iret.
To join the Romans with the gods in the same enunciation, is an artful stroke of flattery, because it tacitly puts them on a level. On the other Edition: ed; Page: [ 67 ] hand, the degrading or vilifying an object, is done successfully by ranking it with one that is really low:. I hope to have this entertainment in a readiness for the next winter; and doubt not but it will please more than the opera or puppet-show.
Manifold have been the judgements which Heaven from time to time, for the chastisement of a sinful people, has inflicted upon whole nations. Of this kind, in our own unfortunate country, was that destructive pestilence, whose mortality was so fatal as to sweep away, if Sir William Petty may be believed, five millions of Christian souls, besides women and Jews. Such also was that dreadful conflagration ensuing in this famous metropolis of London, which consumed, according to the computation of Sir Samuel Moreland, , houses, not to mention churches and stables.
But on condition it might pass into a law, I would gladly exempt both lawyers of all ages, subaltern and field officers, young heirs, dancing-masters, pick-pockets, and players. In the arrangement of a period, such under-parts crowded together make a poor figure; and never are graceful but when interspersed among the capital parts. I illustrate this rule by the following example.
Here two circumstances, viz. If there be room for a choice, the sooner a circumstance is introduced, the better; because circumstances are proper for that coolness of mind, with which we begin a period as well as a volume: in the progress, the mind warms, and has a greater relish for matters of importance.
When a circumstance is placed at the beginning of the period, or near the beginning, the transition from it to the principal subject is agreeable: it is like a- Edition: ed; Page: [ 69 ] scending, or going upward. On the other hand, to place it late in the period has a bad effect; for after being engaged in the principal subject, Edition: current; Page: [ ] one is with reluctance brought down to give attention to a circumstance. Hence evidently the preference of the following arrangement,. Whether in any country a choice altogether unexceptionable has been made, seems doubtful.
For this reason the following period is exceptionable in point of arrangement. I have considered formerly, with a good deal of attention, the subject upon which you command me to communicate my thoughts to you. And although they may be, and too often are drawn, by the temptations of youth, and the opportunities of Edition: ed; Page: [ 70 ] a large fortune, into some irregularities, when they come forward into the great world; it is ever with reluctance and compunction of mind, because their bias to virtue still continues.
The bad effect of placing a circumstance last or late in a period, will appear from the following examples. Let us endeavour to establish to ourselves an interest in him who holds the reins of the whole creation in his hand. Let us endeavour to establish to ourselves an interest in him, who, in his hand, holds the reins of the whole creation. Edition: ed; Page: [ 71 ]. And Philip the Fourth was obliged at last to conclude a peace, on terms repugnant to his inclination, to that of his people, to the interest of Spain, and to that of all Europe, in the Pyrenean treaty. In arranging a period, it is of importance to determine in what part of it a word makes the greatest figure; whether at the beginning, during the course, or at the close.
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The breaking silence rouses the attention, and prepares for a deep impression at the beginning: the beginning, however, must yield to the close; which being succeeded by a pause, affords time for a word to make its deepest impression. The opportunity of a pause should not be thrown away upon accessories, Edition: ed; Page: [ 72 ] but reserved for the principal object, in order that it may make a full impression: which is an additional reason against closing a period with a circumstance.
There are however periods that admit not such a structure; and in that case, the capital word ought, Edition: current; Page: [ ] if possible, to be placed in the front, which next to the close is the most advantageous for making an impression. Hence, in directing our discourse to a man of figure, we ought to begin with his name; and one will be sensible of a degradation, when this rule is neglected, as it frequently is for the sake of verse.
I give the following examples. In these examples, the name of the person addressed to, makes a mean figure, being like a circumstance slipt into a corner. Every one must be sensible of a dignity in the invocation at the beginning, which is not attained by that in the middle. I mean not however to censure this passage: on the contrary, it appears beautiful, by distinguishing the respect that is due to a father from that which is due to a son. The substance of what is said in this and the foregoing section, upon the method of arranging words in a period, so as to make the deepest impression Edition: current; Page: [ ] with respect to sound as well as signification, is comprehended in the following observation: That order of words in a period will always be the most agreeable, where, without obscuring the sense, the most important images, the most sonorous words, and the longest members, bring up the rear.
Hitherto of arranging single words, single members, and single circumstances. But the enumeration of many particulars in the same period is often necessary; and the question is, In what order they should be placed? It does not seem easy, at first view, to bring a subject apparently so loose under any general rule: but luckily, reflecting Edition: ed; Page: [ 74 ] upon what is said in the first chapter about order, we find rules laid down to our hand, which leave us no task but that of applying them to the present question. And, first, with respect to the enumerating particulars of equal rank, it is laid down in the place quoted, that as there is no cause for preferring any one before the rest, it is indifferent to the mind in what order they be viewed.
And it is only necessary to be added here, that for the same reason, it is indifferent in what order they be named. In surveying a number of such objects, beginning at the least, and proceeding to greater and greater, the mind swells gradually with the successive objects, and in its progress has a very sensible pleasure. Precisely for the same reason, words expressive of such objects ought to be placed in the same order.
The beauty of this figure, which may be termed a climax in sense, has escaped lord Bolingbroke in the first member of the following period:.
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Let but one great, brave, disinterested, active man arise, and he will be received, followed, and almost adored. The following arrangement has sensibly a better effect: Edition: ed; Page: [ 75 ]. Whether the same rule ought to be followed in enumerating men of different ranks, seems doubtful: on the one hand, a number of persons presented to the eye in form of an increasing series, is undoubtedly the most Edition: current; Page: [ ] agreeable order: on the other hand, in every list of names, we set the person of the greatest dignity at the top, and descend gradually through his inferiors.
Where the purpose is to honour the persons named according to their rank, the latter order ought to be followed; but every one who regards himself only, or his reader, will choose the former order. I shall give one familiar example. Talking of the parts of a column, the base, the shaft, the capital, these are capable of six different arrangements, and the question is, Which is the best? When we have in view the erecting a column, we are naturally led to express the parts in the order above mentioned; which at the same time is agreeable by ascending.
But considering the column as it stands, without reference to its erec- Edition: ed; Page: [ 76 ] tion, the sense of order, as observed above, requires the chief part to be named first: for that reason 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 descendants: but in describing a lofty oak, we begin with the trunk, and ascend to the branches.
When force and liveliness of expression are demanded, the rule is, to suspend the thought as long as possible, and to bring it out full and entire at the close: which cannot be done but by inverting the natural arrangement. By introducing a word or member before its time, curiosity is raised about what is to follow; and it is agreeable to have our curiosity gratified at the close of the period: the pleasure we feel resembles that of seeing a stroke exerted upon a 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 superfluous: his disappointment contributes also to that appearance, when he finds, contrary to expectation, that the period is not yet finished.
Cicero, and after him Quintilian, recommend the verb to the last place. Edition: ed; Page: [ 77 ] This method evidently tends to Edition: current; Page: [ ] suspend the sense till the close of the period; for without the verb the sense cannot be complete: and when the verb happens to be the capital word, which it frequently is, it ought at any rate to be the 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 instruction an essential circumstance in epic poetry, I doubt whether a single instance could be given of this species of composition, in any language. 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 in epic poetry, I doubt whether, in any language, a single instance could be given of this species of composition. 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.
Edition: ed; Page: [ 78 ]. Men of the best sense have been touched, more or less, with these groundless horrors and presages of futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent works of nature. She soon 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 Balsora. 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. None of the rules for the composition of periods are more liable to be abused, than those last mentioned; witness many Latin writers, among the Edition: ed; Page: [ 79 ] 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 perspicuity. Neither ought such suspension to be attempted in a long period; because in that case the mind is bewildered amidst a profusion of words: a traveller, while he is puzzled about the road, relishes not the finest prospect:.
All the rich presents which Astyages had given him at parting, keeping only some Median horses, in order to propagate the breed of them in Persia, he distributed among his friends whom he left at the court of Ecbatana. The foregoing rules concern the arrangement of a single period: I add one rule more concerning the distribution of a discourse into different periods.
A short period is lively and familiar: a long period, requiring more attention, makes an impression grave and solemn. For that reason, the commencement of a letter to a very young lady on her marriage is faulty:. Madam, The hurry and impertinence of receiving and paying visits on account of your marriage, being now over, you are beginning to enter into a course of life, where you will want much advice to divert you from falling into many errors, fopperies, and follies, to which your sex is subject. Before proceeding farther, it may be proper to review the rules laid down in this and the preceding section, in order to make some general observations.
That order of the words and members of a period is justly termed natural, which corresponds to the natural order of the ideas that compose the thought. The tendency of many of the foregoing rules is to substitute an artificial arrangement, in order to catch some beauty either of sound or meaning for which there is no place in the natural order. But seldom it happens, that in the same period there is place for a plurality of Edition: ed; Page: [ 81 ] these rules: if one beauty can be retained, another must be relinquished; and the only question is, Which ought to be preferred?
This question cannot be resolved by any general rule: if the natural order be not relished, a few trials will discover that artificial order which has the best effect; and this exercise, supported by a good taste, will in time make the choice easy. All that can be said in general is, that in making a choice, sound ought to yield to signification. The transposing words and members out of their natural order, so remarkable in the learned languages, has been the subject of much speculation.
It is agreed on all hands, that such transposition or inversion bestows upon a period a very sensible degree of force and elevation; and yet writers Edition: current; Page: [ ] seem to be at a loss how to account for this effect.
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