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a degree above Tillotson; though, for correctness, he is not in the highest rank. All is easy and flowing in him; he is exceed ingly harmonious; smoothness, and what may be called amenity, are the distinguishing characters of his manner; relaxing, sometimes, as such a manner will naturally do, into a prolix and remiss style. No writer whatever has stamped upon his Style a more lively impression of his own character. In reading his works, we seem engaged in conversation with him; we become thoroughly acquainted with him, not merely as an author, but as a man; and contract a friendship for him. He may be classed as standing in the middle, between a negligent Simplicity and the highest degree of Ornament which this character of Style admits. Ibid.

$27. Simplicity of Mr. ADDISON's


Of the latter of these, the highest, most correct and ornamented degree of the simple manner, Mr. Addison is beyond doubt, in the English language, the most perfect example: and therefore, though not without some faults, he is, on the whole, the safest model for imitation, and the freest from considerable defects, which the language affords. Perspicuous and pure he is in the highest degree; his precision, indeed, not very great; yet nearly as great as the subjects which he treats of require: the construction of his sentences easy, agreeable, and commonly very musical; carrying a character of smoothness, more than of strength. In figurative language he is rich, particularly in similes and metaphors; which are so employed as to render his Style splendid without being gaudy. There is not the least affectation in his manner; we see no marks of labour; nothing forced or constrained; but great elegance joined with great ease and simplicity. He is, in particular, distinguished by a character of modesty and of politeness, which appears in all his writings. No author has a more popular and insinuating manner; and the great regard which he every where shews for virtue and religion, recommends him highly. If he fails in any thing, it is in want of strength and precision, which renders his manner, though perfectly suited to such essays as he writes in the Spectator, not altogether a proper model for any of the higher and more elaborate kinds of composition. Though the public have ever

done much justice to his merit, yet the nature of his merit has not always been seen in its true light: for, though his poetry be elegant, he certainly bears a higher rank among the prose writers, than he is entitled to among the poets; and, in prose, his humour is of a much higher and more original strain than his philosophy. The character of Sir Roger de Coverley discovers more genius than the critique on Milton. Ibid.

$28. Simplicity of Style never varies.

Such authors as those, whose characters I have been giving, one never tires of reading. There is nothing in their manner that strains or fatigues our thoughts: we are pleased without being dazzled by their lustre. So powerful is the charm of Simplicity in an author of real genius, that it atones for many defects, and reconciles us to many a careless expression. Hence, in all the most excellent authors, both in prose and verse, the simple and natural manner may be always remarked; although, other beauties being predominant, these form not their peculiar and distinguishing character. Thus Milton is simple in the midst of all his grandeur; and Demosthenes in the midst of all his vehemence. To grave and solemn writings, Simplicity of manner adds the more venerable air. Accordingly, this has often been remarked as the prevailing character throughout all the sacred Scriptures: and indeed no other character of Style was so much suited to the dignity of inspiration. Ibid.

$29. Lord SHAFTSBURY deficient in
Simplicity of Style.

Of authors who, notwithstanding many excellencies, have rendered their Style much less beautiful by want of Simplicity, I cannot give a more remarkable example than Lord Shaftsbury. This is an author on whom I have made observations several times before; and shall now take leave of him, with giving his general character under this head. Considerable merit, doubtless, he has. His works might be read with profit for the moral philosophy which they contain, had he not filled them with so many oblique and invidious insinuations against the Christian Religion; thrown out, too, with so much spleen and satire, as do no honour to his memory, either as an author or a man. His language has many beauties. It is firm and supported in an uncommon

degree: it is rich and musical. No English author, as I formerly shewed, has attended so much to the regular construction of his sentences, both with respect to propriety, and with respect to cadence. All this gives so much elegance and pomp to his language, that there is no wonder it should have been sometimes highly admired. It is greatly hurt, however, by perpetual stiffness and affectation. This is its capital fault. His lordship can express nothing with Simplicity. He seems to have considered it as vulgar, and beneath the dignity of a man of quality to speak like other men. Hence he is ever in buskins; full of circumlocutions and artificial elegance. In every sentence, we see the marks of labour and art; nothing of that ease which expresses a sentiment coming natural and warm from the heart. Of figures and ornament of every kind, he is exceedingly fond; sometimes happy in them; but his fondness for them is too visible; and having once laid hold of some metaphor or allusion that pleased him, he knows not how to part with it. What is most wonderful, he was a professed admirer of Simplicity; is always extolling it in the ancients, and censuring the moderns for the want of it; though he departs from it himself as far as any one modern whatever. Lord Shaftsbury possessed delicacy and refinement of taste, to a degree that we may call excessive and sickly; but he had little warmth of passion; few strong or vigorous feelings; and the coldness of his character led him to that artificial and stately manner which appears in his writings. He was fonder of nothing than of wit and raillery; but he is far from being happy in it. He attempts it often, but always awkwardly; he is stiff, even in his pleasantry; and laughs in form, like an author, and not like a man. From the account which I have given of Lord Shaftsbury's manner, it may easily be imagined, that he would mislead many who blindly admired him. Nothing is more dangerous to the tribe of imitators, than an author, who, with many imposing beauties, has also some very considerable blemishes. This is fully exemplified in Mr. Blackwall of Aberdeen, the author of the Life of Homer, the Letters on Mythology, and the Court of Augustus; a writer of considerable learning, and of ingenuity also; but infected with an extravagant love of an artificial Style, and of that parade of language which distinguishes the Shafts

burean manner.

Having now said so much to recommend Simplicity, or the easy and natural manner of writing, and having pointed out the defects of an opposite manner; in order to prevent mistakes on this subject, it is necessary for me to observe, that it is very possible for an author to write simply, and yet not beautifully. One may be free from affectation, and not have merit. The beautiful Simplicity supposes an author to possess real genius; to write with solidity, purity, and liveliness of imagination. In this case, the simplicity or unaffectedness of his manner, is the crowning ornament; it heightens every other beauty; it is the dress of nature, without which all beauties are imperfect. But if mere unaffectedness were sufficient to constitute the beauty of Style, weak, trifling, and dull writers might often lay claim to this beauty. And accordingly we frequently meet with pretended critics, who extol the dullest writers on account of what they call the "Chaste Simplicity of their manner:" which, in truth, is no other than the absence of every ornament, through the mere want of genius and imagination. We must distinguish, therefore, between that Simplicity which accompanies true genius, and which is perfectly compatible with every proper ornament of Style; and that which is no other than a careless and slovenly manner. Indeed the distinction is easily made from the effect produced. The one never fails to interest the reader; the other is insipid and tiresome. Blair.

§ 30. On the Vehement STYLE.


I proceed to mention one other manner or character of Style, different from any that I have yet spoken of; which may be distinguished by the name of the Vehement. This always implies strength; is not, by any means, inconsistent with Simplicity: but, in its predominant character, is distinguishable from either the strong or the simple manner. It has a peculiar ardour; it is a glowing Style; the language of a man, whose imagination and passions are heated, and strongly affected by what he writes; who is therefore negligent of lesser graces, but pours himself forth with the rapidity and fullness of a torrent. It belongs to the higher kinds of oratory; and indeed is rather expected from a man who is speaking, than from one who is writing in his closet. The orations of Demosthenes furnish the full


and perfect example of this species of Sweetness is the peculiar excellence of Style. the joyous bard of Teos. The bacchanalian songs of modern times partake very § 31. On Sweetness and Delicacy of little of those delicate charms which dis


As there is in some flowers an exquisite scent, and in some fruits a delicious flavour, to express which no language has a name; so there is in style a sweetness and a delicacy which eludes description, aud can only be perceived by the sensibility of taste.

But though it may be difficult to analyse this agreeable quality, or to teach a writer how to infuse it into his works, yet it is by no means equally arduous to point out a few authors in whom both the observations of others, and our own feelings, have discovered it, This, indeed, is the only method of communicating it; and though it is not to be taught by didactic and formal precepts, it may be acquired by the contagious influence of a captivating example.

Sweetness is chiefly to be found in lyric poetry, but it is by no means confined to it. Though Vossius is of opinion that sweetness is peculiar to lyric, as gravity to the epic, simplicity to the pastoral, softness to the elegiac, jocularity to the comic, pathos to the tragic, bitterness to the satiric, and pungency to the epigrammatic; yet I rather think that they all admit, on some occasions, something of this captivating quality. Homer, who furnishes models of every style, often mixes, among his ruder beauties, a delicate sweetness of diction, which, besides its own inherent power of pleasing, embellishes all the rougher parts by the power of contrast.

Theocritus is all sweetness; and if a reader, with a good ear, should not understand the bard of Syracuse, he might still be delighted with the delicious honey of the Doric dialect.

Many of the little but elegant compositions in the Anthologia owe all their excellence to the selection of words which convey enchanting music to the ear. They seem, indeed, to trickle like liquid honey from the honeycomb, and this without any affectation in the writers; for such are the peculiar beauties of the Greek language, that it is difficult to write on subjects conneeted with pleasure, love, and beauty, without using such expressions as, besides their real meaning, excite an idea of sweetness, by their sound, similar in its melody to the object represented.

tinguish a style truly Anacreontic. It does not indeed appear, that the modern bacchanals have thought it possible that their joys should admit of delicacy. The songs, therefore, which have been written to enliven and stimulate their mirth have usually been of a coarser kind, and such as necessarily excluded sweetness of composition. They seem to have considered a Bacchus as he is rudely represented on a sign-post, and not, as he is described by the poets and sculptors of antiquity, a most graceful and elegant figure. Anacreon, after all, like the Greek epigrammatists, must be acknowledged to owe much of his sweetness to a language which cannot be otherwise than sweet on certain subjects, without unnatural violence. The Latin language, though susceptible of peculiar delicacy, is certainly less capable of sweetness than the dialect of Athens, Ionia, and Doris. But still there are many authors in it who have derived much of the power of pleasing the human race, during near twenty centuries, from the singular sweetness of their style.

Catullus, I believe, deserves to be mentioned among the first of those who have emulated the Greeks in their distinguished excellence. Few books would have been better calculated to give boys a true taste for sweet composition, if the decency of the poet's sentiments had been equal to the delicacy of his style. But it must be allowed that his honey has a poisonous quality.

Horace was a very Proteus in the circumstance of a versatile and variegated diction. His Odes abound with stanzas, and his other works with heroic verses, which evidently prove, that, if he had chosen to vie with Virgil in strength and dignity, he would have approached his rival. But he was a man of pleasure; and his favourite style is that in which he celebrates love and wine. In this there is a remarkable sweetness; and I know not whether the curiosa felicitas, or that charm of his writings which resulted from study and happiness united, may not be said to consist in delicacy of sentiment and suavity of expression. So delightful are the ninth ode of the fourth book, and the fourth of the third, that all readers have been charmed with them; and Julius

Scaliger, a very warm critic, has asserted, that he had rather be the author of them than of all Pindar's odes, or than be elevated to the rank of a monarch. It is, I think, certain, that many of the odes of Horace, and many of the works of other poets of equal fame, have delighted mankind, from one generation to another, far less by the justness of the sentiments than by a sweetness of language, a delicate choice of words, and a well-modulated collocation.

The modest bard of Mantua indisputably owes his influence over the human mind to his talent in attempering, in a most judicious union, softness, sweetness, and the nicest delicacy, with the most majestic grandeur, the dignity of heroic language and virtue.

Among the prose writers of Greece and Rome, every reader of taste will immediately observe, that Herodotus and Xenophon, Cæsar and Cicero, claim the first place in the excellence of a sweet style. The two Plinies and Paterculus have a considerable share of it. Thucydides, Sallust, and Tacitus, are too fond of austerity to admit any great portion of sweetness; yet they admit it occasionally.

Many of the modern Latin poets have distinguished themselves by the sweetness of their verse. Some of them have, however, carried it to excess, and have writ ten in the worst manner of Grotius, Johannes Secundus, and Bonifonius. Sweetness ought to be distinguished from lusciousness: the one affects us with the sensations durably agreeable; the other quickly cloys and palls the appetite.

The eminent French writers, who certainly possess taste, have displayed a remarkable sweetness of style. The Italians can scarcely compose without displaying it. He who has formed a taste for this quality will find it fully gratified in the writings of Fontaine, Metastasio, and indeed in all the celebrated authors of France and Italy. Those nations, in modern times, have been more defective in strength and nerve than in any of the softer qualities, the purpose of which is to please, allure, and seduce.

Though the French are disposed to deny the English the praise of taste, I cannot help thinking, that we have writers who can rival them in their pretensions to taste and to every excellence which can adorn composition. Our Ad

dison, like some of the most celebrated ancients, possesses that sweetness, that delicacy, and that grace, which is formed to please the human mind, under all the revolutions of time, of fashion, and of capricious taste. It is not only the excellent matter which produces the effect of gently composing our passions while we are leading Addison, but it is also that sweet style, which cannot be read and tasted without communicating to the mind something of its own delightful equability. Sir William Temple was, indeed, the model of Addison, and he is remarkable for the sweetness of his style, especially if he is com pared with the writers of his own time.

All our eminent poets have judiciously mingled sweetness with strength, and grace with dignity. Waller has usually obtained the praise of sweetness; but he has been greatly exceeded by his successors in this and every other species of poetry. If that sort of genius which constitutes a Homer, a Shakspeare, a Milton, has not been common among us, yet the subordinate species which is displayed in elegant mediocrity, and what we call pretty and pleasing opuscula, has no where more abounded; and suavity has been one of the excellencies principally pursued, and most easily attained.

It appears to me, that the later writers of prose have rather affected the masculine and nervous than the sweet and graceful. The author of Fitzosborne's Letters has exhibited both grace and sweetness and I wish they were not sometimes injured by verbosity. Johnson, Hawkesworth, Robertson, are chiefly admired for strength and force. Hume has now and then displayed something of Addisonian sweetness in a few of his moral essays, together with Addison's gentleness. It is to be wished he had displayed something of the Addisonian goodness of heart; it must be allowed, that his powers have often a poisonous quality. The Warburtonian school, as Hume called it, though it has produced ingenious and nervous writers, cannot boast either of sweetness or grace. It has delighted much in violent controversy and arbitrary dictation, both of which usually bid defiance to the Graces, and prefer bitterness and acrimony to sweetness of style and melody of diction.

Though it may not be easy to define the whole of that, whatever it is, which

as I have several times hinted, it is fre-
quently hard to distinguish them. Where-
ever the impressions of things upon our
minds are faint and indistinct, or perplexed
and confused, our Style in treating of such
things will infallibly be so too. Whereas,
what we conceive clearly and feel strongly,
we will naturally express with clearness
and with strength. This, then, we may be
assured, is a capital rule as to Style, to
think closely of the subject, till we have
attained a full and distinct view of the
matter which we are to clothe in words,
till we become warm and interested in it;
then, and not till then, shall we find ex-
pression begin to flow. Generally speak-
ing, the best and most proper expressions,
are those which a clear view of the subject
suggests, without much labour or inquiry
after them. This is Quinctilian's observa-
tion, Lib. viii. c. 1. " Plerumque optima
"verba rebus cohærent, et cernuntur suo
"lumine. At nos quærimus illa, tan-
66 quam lateant seque subducant. Ita nun-
quam putamus verba esse circa id de
quo dicendum est; sed ex aliis locis pe-
"timus, et inventis vim asserimus*."

constitutes sweetness of style, yet it is by no means difficult to discover one or two circumstances which are highly conducive to it. It is, indeed, obvious to observe, that the frequent use of liquid letters, and of labials combined with syllables consisting of vowels with few consonants, contributes greatly to sweeten the diction. But so nice a point is real excellence, that the smallest excess or affectation of any particular beauty will totally destroy all its agreeable effect. It must result from nature, cultivated indeed, but not too closely confined and directed by art. Alliteration is conducive to sweetness, and is a figure frequently used by the best writers, ancient and modern. Used with caution, it cannot fail to please; but the cause of the pleasure should be latent. When this figure obtrudes itself too often, and in excess, as it does in several modern writers, it loses all its grace; and the reader resents and loathes the paltry artifice of a writer who depends on so poor a claim to applause. This, indeed, and all other ornaments, are to be used, as it has been observed, like salt at a meal, which agreeably seasons every dish when mixed 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.

Knox's Essays.

§ 32. Directions for forming a STYLE. It will be more to the purpose, that I conclude these dissertations upon Style with a few directions concerning the proper method of attaining a good Style in general; leaving the particular character of that Style to be either formed by the subject on which we write, or prompted by the bent of genius.




In the second place, in order to form a good Style, the frequent practice of composing is indispensably necessary. Many rules concerning Style I have delivered; but no rules will answer the end without exercise and habit. At the same time, it is not every sort of composing that will improve Style. This is so far from being the case, that by frequent, careless, and hasty composition, we shall acquire certainly a very bad Style: we shall have more trouble afterwards in unlearning faults, and correcting negligences, than if we had not been accustomed to composition at all. In the beginning, therefore, we ought to write slowly and with much care. Let the facility and speed of writing be the fruit of longer practice. "Moram "et solicitudinem," says Quinctilian with the greatest reason, L. x. c. 3. " initiis impero. Nam primum hoc constituendum

The first direction which I give for this purpose, is, to study clear ideas on the subject concerning which we are to write or speak. This is a direction which may at first appear to have small relation to Style. Its relation to it, however, is extremely close. The foundation of all good Style, is good sense, accompanied with a lively imagination. The Style and thoughts of a writer are so intimately connected, that,"


"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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