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a degree above Tillotson; though, for cor- done much justice to his merit, yet the narectness, he is not in the highest rank. All ture of his merit has not always been seen is easy and flowing in him; he is exceed- in its true light: for, though his poetry be ingly harmonious; smoothness, and what elegant, he certainly bears a higher rank may be called amenity, are the distinguish

among the prose writers, than he is ening characters of his manner; relaxing, titled to among the poets; and, in prose, sometimes, as such a manner will naturally bis humour is of a much higher and more do, into a prolix and remiss style. No original strain than his philosophy. The writer whatever has stamped upon his Style character of Sir Roger de Coverley discoa more lively impression of his own cha- vers more genius than the critique on racter. In reading his works, we seem Milton.

Ibid. engaged in conversation with bim; we become thoroughly acquainted with him,

$ 28. Simplicity of Style never varies. not merely as an author, but as a man; Such authors as those, whose characters and contract a friendship for him. He I have been giving, one never tires of readmay be classed as standing in the middle, ing. There is nothing in their manner between a negligent Simplicity and the that strains or fatigues our thoughts: we highest degree of Ornament which this are pleased without being dazzled by their character of Style admits. Ibid. lustre. So powerful is the charm of Sim

plicity in an author of real genius, that it $ 27. Simplicity of Mr. Addison's

atones for many defects, and reconciles us Style.

to many a careless expression. Hence, in Of the latter of these, the highest, most all the most excellent authors, both in prose correct and ornamented degree of the sim- and verse, the simple and natural manner ple manner, Mr. Addison is beyond doubt, may be always remarked; although, other in the English language, the most perfect beauties being predominant, these form not example: and therefore, though not without their peculiar and distinguishing character. some faults, he is, on the whole, the safest Thus Milton is simple in the midst of all model for imitation, and the freest from his grandeur; and Demosthenes in the considerable defects, which the language midst of all his vehemence. To grave and affords. Perspicuous and pure he is in the solemn writings, Simplicity of manner adds highest degree; his precision, indeed, not the more venerable air. Accordingly, this very great; yet nearly as great as the sub- has often been remarked as the prevailing jects wbich he treats of require: the con- character throughout all the sacred Scripstruction of his sentences easy, agreeable, tures: and indeed no other character of and commonly very musical; carrying a Style was so much suited to the dignity character of smoothness, more than of of inspiration.

Ibid. strength. In figurative language he is rich, particularly in similes and metaphors;

29. Lord ShaFTSBURY deficient in which are so employed as to render his

Simplicity of Style. Style splendid without being gaudy. There Of authors who, notwithstanding many is not the least affectation in his manner; excellencies, have rendered their Style much we see no marks of labour; nothing forced less beautiful by want of Simplicity, I canor constrained; but great elegance joined not give a more remarkable example than with great ease and simplicity. He is, in Lord Shaftsbury. This is an author on particular, distinguished by a character of whom I have made observations several modesty and of politeness, which appears times before; and shall now take leave of in all his writings. No author bas a more him, with giving his general character unpopular and insinuating manner; and the der this head. Considerable merit, doubtgreat regard which he every where shews less, he has. His works might be read with for virtue and religion, recommends him profit for the moral philosophy which they highly. If he fails in any thing, it is in contain, had he not filled them with so many want of strength and precision, which ren- oblique and invidious insinuations against ders his manner, though perfectly suited to the Christian Religion ; thrown out, too, such essays as he writes in the Spectator, with so much spleen and satire, as do do not altogether a proper model for any of honour to his memory, either as an author the higher and more elaborate kinds of or a man. His language has many beauties. composition. Though the public have ever It is firm and supported in an uncommon



degree: it is rich and musical. No English Having now said so much to recommend author, as I formerly shewed, has attended Simplicity, or the easy and natural manner so much to the regular construction of his of writing, and having pointed out the desentences, both with respect to propriety, fects of an opposite manner; in order to and with respect to cadence. All this gives prevent mistakes on this subject, it is necesso much elegance and pomp to his lan- sary for me to observe, that it is very posguage, that there is no wonder it should sible for an author to write simply, and yet have been sometimes highly admired. It is not beautifully. One may be free from afgreatly hurt, however, by perpetual stiff- fectation, and not have merit. The beauness and affectation. This is its capital fault. tiful Simplicity supposes an author to posHis lordship can express nothing with Sim- sess real genius; to write with solidity, puplicity. He seems to have considered it as rity, and liveliness of imagination. In this vulgar, and beneath the dignity of a man case, the simplicity or unaffectedness of his of quality to speak like other men. Hence manner, is the crowning ornament; it he is ever in buskins; full of circumlocu- heightens every other beauty; it is the dress tions and artificial elegance. In every sen- of nature, without which all beauties are tence, we see the marks of labour and art; imperfect. But if mere unaffectedness were nothing of that ease which expresses a sen- sufficient to constitute the beauty of Style, timent coming natural and warm from the weak, trifling, and dull writers might often heart. Of figures and ornament of every lay claim to this beauty. And accordingly kind, he is exceedingly fond; sometimes we frequently meet with pretended critics, happy in them; but his fondness for them who extol the dullest writers on account of is too visible; and having once laid hold what they call the “Chaste Simplicity of of some metaphor or allusion that pleased their manner :" which, in truth, is no other him, he knows not how to part with it. than the absence of every ornament, What is most wonderful, he was a pro- through the mere want of genius and imafessed admirer of Simplicity; is always gination. We must distinguish, therefore, extolling it in the ancients, and censuring between that Simplicity which accompathe moderns for the want of it; though he njes true genius, and which is perfectly departs from it himself as far as any one compatible with every proper ornament of modern whatever. Lord Shaftsbury pos- Style; and that which is no other than a sessed delicacy and refinement of taste, to careless and slovenly manner. Indeed a degree that we may call excessive and the distinction is easily made from the efsickly; but he had little warmth of pas- fect produced. The one never fails to insion; few strong or vigorous feelings; terest the reader; the other is insipid and and the coldness of his character led him tiresome.

Blair. to that artificial and stately manner which appears in his writings. He was fonder

§ 30. On the Vehement Style. of nothing than of wit and raillery; but he is far from being happy in it. He at- I proceed to mention one other manner tempts it often, but always awkwardly; he or character of Style, different from is stiff, even in his pleasantry; and laughs that I have yet spoken of; which may be in form, like an autbor, and not like a man. distinguished by the name of the Vehe

From the account which I have given ment. This always implies strength; and of Lord Shaftsbury's manner, it may easily is not, by any means, inconsistent with be imagined, that he would mislead many Simplicity : but, in its predominant chawho blindly admired him. Nothing is racter, is distinguishable from either the more dangerous to the tribe of imitators, strong or the simple manner. than an author, who, with many imposing culiar ardour; it is a glowing Style; the beauties, has also some very considerable language of a man, whose imagination and blemishes. This is fully exemplified in passions are heated, and strongly affected Ms. Blackwall of Aberdeen, the author of by what he writes; who is therefore negthe Life of Homer, the Letters on Mytho- ligent of lesser graces, but pours himself logy, and the Court of Augustus; a writer forth with the rapidity and fullness of a of considerable learning, and of ingenuity torrent. It belongs to the higher kinds of also; but infected with an extravagant love oratory; and indeed is rather expected of an artificial Style, and of that parade of from a man who is speaking, than from language which distinguishes the Shafts- one who is writing in his closet. The oraburean manner.

any and perfect example of this species of Sweetness is the peculiar excellence of Style.

tions of Demosthenes furnish the full

It has a pe

Blair. the joyous bard of Teos. The bacchana$ 31. On Sweetness and Delicacy of little of those delicate charms which dis

lian songs of modern times partake very STYLE.

tinguish a style truly Anacreontic, It does As there is in some flowers an exquisite not indeed appear, that the modern bacscent, and in some fruits a delicious fla- chanals have thought it possible that vour, to express which no language has a their joys should admit of delicacy. The name; so there is in style a sweetness and songs, therefore, which have been written a delicacy which eludes description, and to enliven and stimulate their mirth have can only be perceived by the sensibility usually been of a coarser kind, and such of taste.

as necessarily excluded sweetness of comBut though it may be difficult to ana- position. They seem to have considered lyse this agreeable quality, or to teach a à Bacchus as he is rudely represented on writer how to infuse it into his works, yet a sign-post, and not, as he is described by it is by no means equally arduous to the poets and sculptors of antiquity, a point out a few authors in whom both most graceful and elegant figure. Anathe observations of others, and our own creon, after all, like the Greek epigrammafeelings, have discovered it, This, indeed, tists, must be acknowledged to owe much is the only method of communicating it; of his sweetness to a language which canand though it is not to be taught by 'di- not be otherwise than sweet on certain dactic and formal precepts, it may be ac- subjects, without unnatural violence. The quired by the contagious influence of a Latin language, though susceptible of pecaptivating example.

culiar delicacy, is certainly less capable of Sweetness is chiefly to be found in lyric sweetness than the dialect of Athens, Ionia, poetry, but it is by no means confined to and Doris. But still there are many auit. Though Vossius is of opinion that thors in it who have derived much of the sweetness is peculiar to lyric, as gravity power of pleasing the human race, during to the epic, simplicity to the pastoral, near twenty centuries, from the singular softness to the elegiac, jocularity to the sweetness of their style. comic, pathos to the tragic, bitterness to Catullus, I believe, deserves to be menthe satiric, and pungency to the epigram- tioned among the first of those who have matic; yet I rather think that they all ad- emulated the Greeks in their distinguished mit, on some occasions, something of this excellence. Few books would have been captivating quality. Homer, who furnishes better calculated to give boys a true taste models of every style, often mixes, among for sweet composition, if the decency of his ruder beauties, a delicate sweetness the poet's sentiments had been equal to of diction, which, besides its own in- the delicacy of his style. But it must be herent power of pleasing, embellishes all allowed that his honey has a poisonous the rougher parts by the power of contrast. quality.

Theocritus is all sweetness; and if a Horace was a very Proteus in the cirreader, with a good ear, should not un- cumstance of a versatile and variegated derstand the bard of Syracuse, he might diction. His Odes abound with stanzas, still be delighted with the delicious honey and his other works with heroic verses, of the Doric dialect.

which evidently prove, that, if he had Many of the little but elegant composic chosen to vie with Virgil in strength and tions in the Anthologiæ owe all their ex- dignity, he would have approached his cellence to the selection of words which rival. But he was a man of pleasure ; convey enchanting music to the ear. They and his favourite style is that in which he seem, indeed, to trickle like liquid honey celebrates love and wine. In this there from the honeycomb, and this without any is a remarkable sweetness; and I know affectation in the writers; for such are the not whether the curiosa felicitas, or that peculiar beauties of the Greek language, charm of his writings which resulted from that it is difficult to write on subjects con- study and happiness united, may not be nected with pleasure, love, and beauty, said to consist in delicacy of sentiment without using such expressions as, besides and suavity of expression. So delightful their real meaning, excite an idea of sweet- are the ninth ode of the fourth book, and ness, by their sound, similar in its melody the fourth of the third, that all readers to the object represented.

have been charmed with them; and Julius


Scaliger, a very warm critic, has asserted, dison, like some of the most celebrated that he had rather be the author of them ancients, possesses that sweetness, that than of all Pindar's odes, or than be ele- delicacy, and that grace, which is formed to vated to the rank of a monarch. It is, I please the human mind, under all the revothink, certain, that many of the odes of lutions of time, of fashion, and of capricious Horace, and many of the works of other taste. It is not only the excellent matter poets of equal fame, have delighted man- which produces the effect of gently comkind, from one generation to another, far posing our passions while we are leading less by the justness of the sentiments than Addison, but it is also that sweet style, by a sweetness of language, a delicate which cannot be read and tasted without choice of words, and a well-modulated communicating to the mind something of collocation.

its own delightful equability. Sir William The modest bard of Mantua indisputa- Temple was, indeed, the model of Addibly owes his influence over the human son, and he is remarkable for the sweetmind to his talent in attempering, in a ness of his style, especially if he is commost judicious union, softness, sweetness, pared with the writers of his own time. and the nicest delicacy, with the most ma- All our eminent poets have judiciously jestic grandeur, the dignity of heroic lan- mingled sweetness with strength, and guage and virtue.

grace with dignity. Waller has usually Among the prose writers of Greece and obtained the praise of sweetness; but he Rome, every reader of taste will immedi- has been greatly exceeded by his succesately observe, that Herodotus and Xeno- sors in this and every other species of phon, Cæsar and Cicero, claim the first poetry. If that sort of genius which conplace in the excellence of a sweet style. stitutes a Homer, a Shakspeare, a Milton, The two Plinies and Paterculus have a has not been common among us, yet the considerable share of it. Thucydides, subordinate species which is displayed Sallust, and Tacitus, are too fond of aus- in elegant mediocrity, and what we call terity to admit any great portion of sweet- pretty and pleasing opuscula, has no ness; yet they admit it occasionally. where more abounded ; and suavity has

Many of the modern Latin poets have been one of the excellencies principally distinguished themselves by the sweetness pursued, and most easily attained. of their verse. Some of them have, how- It appears to me, that the later writers ever, carried it to excess, and have writ- of prose have rather affected the mascuten in the worst manner of Grotius, Jo- line and nervous than the sweet and hannes Secundus, and Bonifonius. Sweet- graceful. The author of Fitzosborne's ness ought to be distinguished from lusci- Letters has exhibited both grace and ousness: the one affects us with the sensa- sweetness : and I wish they were not tions durably agreeable; the other quickly sometimes injured by verbosity. Johncloys and palls the appetite.

son, Hawkesworth, Robertson, are chiefly The eminent French writers, who cer- admired for strength and force. Hume tainly possess taste, have displayed a re- has now and then displayed something of markable sweetness of style. The Italians Addisonian sweetness in a few of his mocan scarcely compose without displaying ral essays, together with Addison's it. He who has formed a taste for this gentleness. It is to be wished be had disquality will find it fully gratified in the played something of the Addisonian goodwritings of Fontaine, Metastasio, and in- ness of heart; it must be allowed, that his deed in all the celebrated authors of France powers have often a poisonous quality. and Italy. Those nations, in modern The Warburtonian school, as 'Hume times, have been more defective in strength called it, though it has produced ingenious and nerve than in any of the softer quali- and nervous writers, cannot boast either ties, the purpose of which is to please, of sweetness or grace. It has delighted allure, and seduce.

much in violent controversy and arbiThough the French are disposed to trary dictation, both of which usually bid deny the English the praise of taste, I defiance to the Graces, and prefer bittercannot help thinking, that we have wri- ness and acrimony to sweetness of style ters who can rival them in their preten- and melody of diction. sions to taste and to every excellence Though it may not be easy to define which can adorn composition. Our Ad- the whole of that, whatever it is, which



constitutes sweetness of style, yet it is by as I have several times hinted, it is free no means difficult to discover one or two quently hard to distinguish them. Wherecircumstances which are highly conducive ever the impressions of things upon our to it.

It is, indeed, obvious to observe, minds are faint and indistinct, or perplexed that the frequent use of liquid letters, and and confused, our Style in treating of such of labials combined with syllables consist- things will infallibly be so too. Whereas, ing of vowels with few consonants, con- what we conceive clearly and feel strongly, tributes greatly to sweeten the diction. we will naturally express with clearness But so nice a point is real excellence, and with strength. This, then, we may that the smallest excess or affectation of assured, is a capital rule as to Style, to any particular beauty will totally destroy think closely of the subject, till we have all its agreeable effect. It must result attained a full and distinct view of the from nature, cultivated indeed, but not matter which we are to closbe in words, too closely confined and directed by art. till we become warm and interested in it; Alliteration is conducive to sweetness, then, and not till then, shall we find exand is a figure frequently used by the best pression begin to flow. Generally speakwriters, ancient and modern. Úsed with ing, the best and most proper expressions, caution, it cannot fail to please; but the are those which a clear view of the subject cause of the pleasure should be latent. suggests, without much labour or inquiry When this figure obtrudes itself too often, after them. This is Quinctilian's observaand in excess, as it does in several modern tion, Lib. vii.c. 1. “

Plerumque optima writers, it loses all its grace; and the rea- “ verba rebus cohærent, et cernuntur suo der resents and loathes the paltry artifice “ lumine. At nos quærimus illa, tanof a writer who depends on so poor a “ quam lateant seque subducant. Ita nunclaim to applause. This, indeed, and all “ quam putamus verba esse circa id de other ornaments, are to be used, as it has quo dicendum est; sed ex aliis locis pebeen observed, like salt at a meal, which “limus, et inventis vim asserimus*.” agreeably seasons every dish when mixed

Blair. in moderation, but which would spoil the whole, if it were rendered the predomi- 33. Practice necessary for forming a nant ingredient of the repast.

Knor's Essays.

In the second place, in order to form § 32. Directions for forming a STYLE.

a good Style, the frequent practice of

composing is indispensably necessary. It will be inore to the purpose, that I Many rules concerning Style I have deliconclude these dissertations upon Style vered; but no rules will answer the end with a few directions concerning the pro- without exercise and habit. At the same per method of attaining a good style in time, it is not every sort of composing that general ; leaving the particular character willimprove Style. This is so far from being of that Style to be either formed by the the case, that by frequent, careless, and hassubject on which we write, or prompted ty composition, we shall acquire certainly by the bent of genius.

a very bad Style : we shall have more The first direction which I give for this trouble afterwards in unlearning faults, purpose, is, to study clear ideas on the sub- and correcting negligences, than if we ject concerning which we are to write or had not been accustomed to composispeak. This is a direction whicb may at tion at all. In the beginning, therefore, first

appear to have small relation to Style. we ought to write slowly and with much Its relation to it, however, is extremely care. Let the facility and speed of writing close. The foundation of all good Style, be the fruit of longer practice. “Moram is good sense, accompanied with a lively “ et solicitudinem," says Quinctilian with imagination. The Style and thoughts of the greatest reason, L. X. c. 3. “initiis ima writer are so intimately connected, that, “pero. Nam primum hoc constituendum

*« The most proper words for the most part adhere to the thoughts which are to be expressed “ by them, and may be discovered as by their own light. But we hunt after them, as if they were "hidden, and only to be found in a corner. Hence, instead of conceiving the words to lie near the " subject, we go in quest of them to some other quarter, and endeavour to give force to the ex“pressions we have found out."

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