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Annominatio, and adds, “ that the two We might quote also Alliterations from “ nations were so attached to this verbal prose writers, but those we have alleged “ ornament in every high-finished com- we think sufficient.
Harris. “ position, that nothing was by them “ esteemed elegantly delivered, no diction $ 183. On the Period. “ considered but as rude and rustic, if it Nor is elegance only to be found in “ were not first amply refined with the single words, or in single feet; it may be polishing art of this figure.”
found when we put them together, in our "Tis perhaps from this national taste of peculiar mode of putting them. 'Tis out ours, that we derive many proverbial si- of words and feet, thus compounded, that miles, which, if we except the sound, seem we form sentences, and among sentences to have no other merit-Fine as five-pence none so striking, none so pleasing, as the - Round as a Robin, &c.
Period. The reason is, that, while other Even Spenser and Shakspeare adopted sentences are indefinite, and (like a geomethe practice, but then it was in a manner trical right line) may be produced indefisuitable to such geniuses.
nitely, the Period (like a circular line) is Spenser says
always circumscribed, returns, and termi
nates at a given point. In other words, For not to have been dipt in Lethe lake while other sentences, by the help of comCould save the son of Thetis from to die;
mon copulatives, have a sprt of boundless But tbat blind bard did him iminortal make With verses dipt in dew of Castilie.
effusion; the constituent parts of a Period
have a sort of reflex union, in which union Shakspeare says
the sentence is so far complete, as neither Had my sweet Harry had but half their numbers, to require, nor even to admit, a farther exThis day might I, hanging on Hotspur's neck,
tension. Readers find a pleasure in this Have talked, &c.—Heo. I Vib, Part 2d, Act 2d. grateful circuit, which leads them so agreeMilton followed them.
ably to an acquisition of knowledge.
The author, if he may be permitted, For eloquence, the soul; song charms the sense, would refer, by way of illustration, to the
P. L. II. 556. beginnings of his Hermes, and his philo
. And again,
sophical arrangements, where some at
tempts have been made in this periodical Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheav'd
style. He would refer also, for much more His vastness
P. L. VII. 471.
illustrious examples, to the opening of From Dryden we select one example Cicero's Offices; to that of the capital out of many, for no one appears to have Oration of Demosthenes concerning the employed this figure more frequently, or, Crown, and to that of the celebrated Pa. like Virgil, with greater simplicity and negyric, made (if he may be so called) by strength.
the father of Periods, Isocrates. Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Again-every compound sentence is Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.
compounded of other sentences more simThe wise for cure on exercise depend; ple, which, compared to one another, have God never made his work for man to mend. a certain proportion of length. Now it is
Dryd. Fables. in general a good rule, that among these Pope sings in his Dunciad
constituent sentences, the last (if possible) 'Twas chatt'ring, grinning, mouthing, jabb'ring should be equal to the first; or if not
equal, then rather longer than shorter. and noise, and Norton; brangling and Brevall; The reason is, that without a special cause, Dennis, and dissonance
abrupt conclusions are offensive, and the Which lines, though truly poetical and reader, like a traveller quietly pursuing humorous, may be suspected by some to his journey, finds an unexpected precipice, shew their art too conspicuously, and too where he is disagreeably stopt. nearly to resemble that verse of old En
$184. On Monosyllables. 0! tite, tute, tati, tibi, tanta, tyranne, tulisti. It has been called a fault in our language, Script, ad Herenn. I. iv, s, 18.
that it abounds in Monosyllables. As these, Gray begins a sublime Ode,
in too lengthened a suite, disgrace a comRuin seize thee, ruthless king, &c.
position, Lord Shaftsbury, (who studied
purity of style with great attention) limit- tion of any one of his powers, but by a a ed their number to nine; and was careful, latent use of them all in such an exhibition in his Characteristics, to conform to his of nature, that while we were present in a own law. Even in Latin too many of theatre, and only beholding an actor, we them were condemned by Quinctilian. could not help thinking ourselves in Den
Above all, care should be had, that mark with Hamlet, or in Bosworth field sentence end not with a crowd of them, with Richard.
Ibid. those especially of the vulgar, untunable
When the Habit is once gained, sort, such as,
f 187. “ to set it up,” to “ get by and by at it," &c.; for these disgrace a
nothing so easy as Practice. sentence that may be otherwise laudable,
There is another objection still. — These and are like the rabble at the close of some speculations may be called minutiæ; things pompous cavalcade.
Harris. partaking at best more of the elegant than $ 185. Authorities alleged.
of the solid; and aitended with difficulties .
beyond the value of the labour. 'Twas by these, and other arts of similar To answer this, it may be observed, that sort, that authors in distant ages have cul- when habit is once gained, nothing so easy tivated their style. Looking upon know- as practice. When the ear is once habiledge (if I may be allowed the allusion) to tuated to these verbal rhythms, it forms pass into the mansions of the mind through them spontaneously, without attention or language, they were careful (if I may labour. If we call for instances, what pursue the metaphor) not to offend in the more easy to every smith, to every carvestibule. They did not esteem it par- penter, to every common mechanic, than donable to despise the public ear, when the several energies of their proper arts? they saw the love of numbers so univer- How little do even the rigid laws of verse sally diffused.
obstruct a genius truly poetic? How little Nor were they discouraged, as if they did they cramp a Milton, a Dryden, or a thought their labour would be lost. In Pope?' Cicero writes, that Antipater the these more refined but yet popular arts, Sidonian could pour forth Hexameters exthey knew the amazing difference between tempore, and that whenever he chose to the power to execute, and the power to versify, words followed him of course. We judge :-that to execute was the joint ef. may add to Antipater the ancient Rhapsofort of genius and of habit: a painful ac- dists of the Greeks, and the modern Impro quisition, only attainable by the few ;-to visatori of the Italians. If this then be judge, the simple effort of that plain but practicable in verse, how much more so in common sense, imparted by Providence in prose? In prose, the laws of which so far some degree to every one. Ibid. differ from those of poetry, that we can at § 186. Objectors answered.
any time relax them as we find expedient?
Nay more, where to relax them is not only But here methinks an objector demands expedient, but even necessary, because, -“ And are authors then to compose, and though numerous composition may be a re“ form their treatises by rule?-Are they quisite, yet regularly returning rhythm is a “ to balance periods ? -To scan pæans thing we should avoid.
Ibid. “ and cretics? -To affect alliterations ?“ To enumerate monosyllables ?" &c. $ 188. In every Whole, the constituent
If, in answer to this objector, it should Parts, and the facility of their Coincibe said, They ought; the permission should
dence, merit our Regard. at least be tempered with much caution. In every whole, whether natural or artiThese arts are to be so blended with a ficial, the constituent parts well merit our pure but common style, that the reader, as regard, and in nothing more than in the he proceeds, may only fell their latent facility of their coincidence. If we view
If ever they become glaring, they a landscape, how pleasing the harmony bedegenerate into affectation; an extreme tween hills and woods, between rivers and more disgusting, because less natural, than lawns! If we select from this landscape a even the vulgar language of an unpolished tree, how well does the trunk correspond clown. 'Tis in writing, as in acting - with its branches, and the whole of its form The best writers are like our late admired with its beautiful verdure! If we take an Garrick — And how did that able genius animal, for example a fine horse, what a employ his art?- Not by a vain ostenta. union in his colour, his figure, and his mo
tions! If one of human race, what more pleasingly congenial
, than when virtue and $ 191. Every Whole should have a Begingenius appear to animate a graceful figure?
ning, a Middle, and an End. The The
ory exemplified in the Georgics of Virgil. --pulchro veniens e corpore virtus? ' The charm increases, if to a graceful highly finished performance among the
Let us take for an example the most figure we add a graceful elocution. Elo- Romans, and that in their most polished cution too is heightened still, if it convey period, I mean the Georgics of Virgil. elegant sentiments; and these again are heightened, if clothed with graceful dic- Quid faciat lætas segetes quo sidere terram tion, that is , with words which are pure, Conveniat; (111) quæ cura bount, qui cultus
Vertere, Mæcenas, (11) ulmisque adjungere vites precise, and well arranged. § 189. Verbal Decorations not to be called Sit
pecori; (ov) apibus quanta experientia parcis
Hinc canere incipiam, &c. Virg. Georg. 1. Minutie. We must not call these verbal decora- In these lines, and so on (if we consult the tions, minutiæ. They are essential to the original) for forty-two lines inclusive, we beauty, nay, to the completion of the whole. have the beginning; which beginning inWithout them the composition, though its cludes two things, the plan, and the in
vocation. sentiments may be just, is like a picture with good drawing, but with bad and de
In the four first verses we have the plan, fective colouring.
which plan gradually opens and becomes These we are assured were the senti. the wbole work, as an acorn, when deve. ments of Cicero, whom we must allow to loped, becomes a perfect oak. After this have been a master in his art, and who has comes the invocation, which extends to amply and accurately treated verbal decora- the last of the forty-two verses above tion and numerous composition, in no less
mentioned. The two together give us than two capital treatises, (his Orator, and the true character of a beginning, which, his De Oratore) strengthening witbal bis as above described, nothing can precede, own authority with that of Aristotle and and which it is necessary that something
should follow. Theophrastus; to whom, if more were wanting, we might add the pames of Demetrius The reinaining part of the first book, Phalereus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, together with the three books following, Dionysius Longinus, and Quinctilian.
to verse the 458th of book the fourth, Ibid. make the middle, which also has its true
character, that of succeeding the begin§ 190. Advice to Readers.
ning, where we expect something farther; Whoever reads a perfect or finished and that of preceding the end, where we composition, whatever be the language, expect nothing more. whatever the subject, should read it, even The eight last verses of the poem
make if alone, both audibly and distinctly.
the end, which, like the beginning, is In a composition of this character, not short, and which preserves its real chaonly precise words are admitted, but words racter, by satisfying the reader that all is metaphorical and ornamental. And farther complete, and that nothing is to follow. -as every sentence contains a latent har- The performance is even dated. It fimony, so is that harmony derived from nishes like an epistle, giving us the place the rhythm of its constituent parts.
and time of writing; but then giving them A composition then like this, should, (as in such a manner, as they ought to come I said before) be read both distinctly and from Virgil. audibly; with due regard to stops and But to open our thoughts into a farther pauses; with occasional elevations and de- detail. pressions of the voice, and whatever else As the poem, from its very name, reconstitutes just and accurate pronunciation. spects various matters relative to land, He who, despising, or neglecting, or know- (Georgica) and which are either immeing nothing of all this, reads a work of such diately or mediately connected with it; character as he would read a sessions-paper, among the variety of these matters the will not only miss many beauties of the poem begins from the lowest, and thence style, but will probably miss (which is advances gradually from higher to higher, worse) a large proportion of the sense.
till having reached the highest, it there Ibid. properly stops.
The first book begins from the simple with the subject, as to become, as it were, culture of the earth, and from its humblest parts of it. On these principles every progeny, corn, legumes, flowers, &c. book has for its end, what I call an epi
It is a nobler species of vegetables which logue; for its beginning, an invocation ; employs the second book, where we are and for its middle, the several precepts taught the culture of trees, and, among relative to its subject, I mean husbandry. others, of that important pair, the olive and Having a beginning, a middle, and an the vine. Yet it must be remembered, that end, every part itself becomes a smaller all this is nothing more than the culture of whole, though with respect to the general mere vegetable and inanimate nature. plan, it is nothing more than a part. Thus
It is in the third book that the poet the human arm, with a view to its elbow, rises to nature sensitive and animated, its hands, its fingers, &c. is as clearly a when he gives us precepts about cattle, whole, as it is simply but a part with a horses, sheep, &c.
view to the entire body. At length in the fourth book, when The smaller wholes of this divine poem matters draw to a conclusion, then it is he may merit some attention; by these I mean treats bis subject in a moral and political each particular book. way. He no longer pursues the culture of Each book has an invocation. The first the mere brute nature; he then describes, invokes the sun, the moon, the various as he tells us,
rural deities, and lastly Augustus ; the
second invokes Bacchus; the third, Pales -Mores, et studia, et populos, et prælia, &c.
and Apollo; the fourth his patron Mæcefor such is the character of his bees, those nas.
I do not dwell on these invocations, truly social and political animals. It is much less on the parts which follow, for here he first mentions arts, and meinory, this in fact would be writing a comment and laws, and families. It is here (their upon the poem. But the epilogues, besides great sagacity considered) he supposes a their own intrinsic beauty, are too much portion imparted of a sublimer principle. to our purpose to be passed in silence. It is here that every thing vegetable or In the arrangement of them the poet merely brutal seems forgotten, while all seems to have pursued such an order, as appears at least human, and sometimes that alternate affections should be altereven divine:
nately excited; and this he has done, well
knowing the importance of that generally His quidanı signis, atque hæc exempla secuti,
acknowledged truth, “ the force derived Esse apibus partem divinæ mentis, et haustus Ætherios dixere; deum namque ire per omnes
to contraries by their juxta-position or Terrasque tractusque maris, &c.
succession*." The first book ends with Georg. IV, 219. those portents and prodigies, both upon
earth and in the heavens, which preceded When the subject will not permit him to the death of the dictator Cæsar. To these proceed farther, he suddenly conveys his direful scenes the epilogue of the second reader, by the fable of Aristæus, among book opposes the tranquillity and felicity nymphs, heroes, demi-gods, and gods, and of the rural life which (as he informs us) thus leaves him in company supposed more faction and civil discord do not usually than mortal.
impairThis is not only a sublime conclusion to the fourth book, but naturally leads to the
Non res Romanæ, perituraque regnaconclusion of the whole work; for he does In the ending of the third book we read no more after this than shortly recapitulate, of a pestilence, and of nature in devastaand elegantly blend his recapitulating with tion; in the fourth, of nature restored, a compliment to Augustus.
and, by help of the gods, replenished. But even this is not all.
As this concluding epilogue (I mean The dry, didactic character of the Geor- the fable of Aristæus) occupies the most gics, made it necessary they should be en- important place; so is it decorated aclivened by episodes and digressions. It cordingly with language, events, places, , has been the art of the poet, that these and personages, episodes and digressions should be ho- No language was ever more polished mogeneous : that is, should so connect and harmonious. The descent of Aris.
* See before, $ 178.
tæus to his mother, and of Orpheus to the perhaps the most sublime piece of oratory, shades, are events; the watery palace of both for the plan and execution, which the Nereides, the cavern of Proteus, and is extant, of any age, or in any lanthe scene of the infernal regions, are guage. places; Aristæus, Old Proteus, Orpheus, By an awful prosopopeia, the deceased Eurydice, Cyllene, and her nymphs, are are called up to address the living; and personages; all great, all striking, all su- fathers slain in battle, to exhort their live blime.
ing children; the children slain in battle, Let us view these epilogues in the to consolé their living fathers; and this poet's order,
with every idea of manly consolation, I. Civil Horrors.
with every generous incentive to a conII. Rural Tranquillity.
tempt of death, and a love of their counIII. Nature laid waste.
try, that the powers of nature or of art IV. Nature restored.
could suggest. Here, as we have said already, different "Tis here this oration concludes, being passions are, by the subjects being alter- (as we have shewn) a perfect whole, exenate, alternately excited ; and yet withal cuted with all the strength of a sublime excited so judiciously, that when the poem language, under the management of a concludes, and all is at an end, the reader great and a sublime genius. leaves off with tranquillity and joy. If these speculations appear too dry,
they may be rendered more pleasing, if $ 192. Exemplified again in the Mener- criticised. His labour, he might be as
the reader would peruse the two pieces enus of Plato.
sured, would not be lost, as he would From the Georgics of Virgil, we pro- peruse two of the finest pieces which the ceed to the Menexenus of Plato; the first two finest ages of antiquity produced. being the most finished form of a didactic
Ibid. poem, the latter the most consummate model of a panegyric oration.
$ 193. The Theory of Whole and Parts The Menexenus is a funeral oration in
concerns small Works as well as great. praise of those brave Athenians who had We cannot however quit this theory fallen in battle by generously asserting the concerning whole and parts, without obcause of their country. Like the Geor- serving that it regards alike both small gics, and every other just composition, works and great; and that it descends even this oration has a beginning, a middle, and to an essay, to a sonnet, to an ode. These an end.
minuter efforts of genius, unless they The beginning is a solemn account of possess (if I may be pardoned the expresthe deceased having received all the legi- sion) a certain character of Totality, lose timate rights of burial, and of the propria a capital pleasure derived from their ety of doing them honour not only by union; from a union which, collected in deeds but by words; that is, not only by a few penitent ideas, combines them all funeral cereinonies, hut by a speech, to happily under one amicable form. Withperpetuate the memory of their magnani- out this union the production is no better mity, and to recommend it to their pos- than a sort of vague effusion, where senterity, as an object of imitation,
tences follow sentences, and stanzas follow As the deceased were brave and gal- stanzas, with no apparent reason why they lant men, we are shewn by what means should be two rather than
wenty, or they came to possess their character, and twenty rather than two. what noble exploits they performed in If we want another argument for this consequence.
minuter Totality, we may refer to nature, Hence the middle of the oration con- which art is said to imitate. Not only tains first their origin; next their educa- this universe is one stupendous whole, but tion and form of government; and last of such also is a tree, a shrub, a flower; such all, the consequence of such an origin and those beings which, without the aid of education; their heroic achievements from glasses, even escape our perception. And the earliest days to the time then pre- so much for Totality (I venture to famisent.
liarize the term) that common and essenThe middle part being thus complete, tial character to every legitimate comwe come to the conclusion, which is position.