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sions. Dryden, in his poem on the restoration of king Charles the Second, compliments that monarchi, at the expeose of the sun himself.
That star at your birth shone out so bright,
It stain'd the duller sun's meridian light. This is indeed mere bombast. It is difficult to ascertain, by any precise rule, the proper measure and boundary of this figure. Good sense and just taste must determine ihe point, beyond which, if we pass, we become extravagant.
Vision is another fir of speech, which is proper only in animated and warm composition. It is produced whea, instiad of relating something that is passed, we use the presept tense, and describe it as actually passing before our eyes Thus Cirero, in his fourth oration against Catiline: “I seem to myself to behold this city, the ornament of the earth, and the capital of all nations, suddenly involved in one conflagration. I see before me the slaughtered heaps of citizens, fying unburied in the midst of their ruined country. The furious countenance of Cethegus rises to my view, while, with a savage joy, he is triumphing in your miseries."
This manner of description supposes a sort of enthusiasm, which carries the person who describes, in some measure out of himself; and, when well executed, must needs, by the force of sympathy, impress the reader or hearer very strong, ly. But, in order to a successful execution, it requires an un commonly warm imagination, and so happy a selection of circumstances, as shall make us think we see before ou eyes the scene that is described.
Interrogation. The unfigured, literal use of interrogation is to ask a question : but when men are strongly moved whatever they would affirm or deny, with great earnestness they naturally put in the forin of a question, expressing thereby the strongest confidence of the truth of their owd sentiment, and appealing to their hearers for the impossibility of the contrary. Thus Balaam expressed bimself to Balak “The Lord is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said it? and shall hy not do it? Hath he spoken it ? and shall he not make it
Interrogation gives life and spirit to discourse. We se this in the animated, introductory speech of Cicero agains Catiline: “ How long will you, Catiline, abuse our patience Do vou not perceive that your designs are discovered ?"
of expression falls short of the force and vehemence of the former.
Exclamations are the effect of strong emotions of the mind; such as, surprise, admiration, joy, grief, and the like. is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I'dwell in the tents of Kedar!” Psalms.
« O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night, for the slain of the daughter of my people ! 'O that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men !" Jeremiah.
Ti:ough interrogations may be introduced into close and earnest reasoning, exclamations belong only to strong emotions of the mind. When judiciously employed, they agitate the hearer or the reader with similar passions : but it is extremely improper, and sometimes ridiculous, to use them on trivial occasions, and on mean or low subjects. The unexperienced writer, often attempts to elevate his language, by the copious display of this figure : but he rarely or never succeeds. He frequently renders his composition frigid to excess, or absolutely ludicrous, by callu g on us to enter into his transports, when nothing is said or done to demand emotion.
Irony is expressing ourselves in a manner contrary to our thoughts, not with a view to decive, but to add force to our observations. Persons may be reproved for their negligence, by saying ; “ You have taken great care indeed.” Cicero says of the person against whom he was pleading ; “We have great reason to believe that the modest man would not ask him for his debt, when ne pursues his life.”
Ironical exhortation is a very agrreeable kind of figure : which, after having set the inconveniences of a thing in the clearest light, concludes with a feigned encouragement to pursue it. Such is that of Horace, when, having beautifully described the noise and tumults of Rome, he adds ironically ;
“Go now, and study tuneful verse at Rome." The subjects of Irony are vices and follies of all kinds : and this mode of exposing them, is often more effectual than serious reasoning. The gravest persons have not declined the use of this figure, on proper occasions. The wise and virtuous Socrates made great 'use of it, in his endeavours to discountenance vicious and foolish practices. Even in the sacred writings, we have a remarkable instance of it. The prophet Elijah, when he challenged the priests of Baal to prove the truth of their deity," mocked them, and said: Cry aloud, for he is a god: cither he is talking, or he is pursuing,
or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."
Exclamations and Irony are sometimes united: as in Cicero's oration for Balbus, where he derides bis accuser, by saying; “) excellent interpreter of the law! master of antiquity! corrector and amender of our constitution !”
The last figure of speech that we shall mention, is what writers call Amplification or climar. It consists in heightening all the circumstances of an object or ction, which we desire to place in a strong light. Cicero gives a lively instance of this figure, when he says ;.“ It is a crime to put a Roman citizen in bonds ; it is the height of guilt to scourge him; little less than parricide to put him to death : what name then shall I give to the act of crucifying him ?”
Archbishop Tillotson uses this figure very happily, to recommend good and virtuous actions: “After we have practised good actions awhile, they become easy; and when they are easy, we begin to take pleasure in thein ; and when they please us, we do them frequently; and by frequency of acts. a thing grows into a habit; and confirmed habit is a kind of second nature; and so far as any thing is natural, so far it is necessary; and
we can hardly do otherwise; nay, we do it many times when we do not think of it."
We shall conclude this article with an example of a beautiful climax, taken from the charge of a judge to the jury, in the case of a woman accused of murdering her own child. “Gentlemen, if one man had any how slain another; if an adversary had killed his opposer, or a woman occasioned. the death of her enemy; even these criminals would have been capitally punished by the Cornelian law; but if this guiltless infant, that could make no enemy, had been murdered by its own nurse, what punishment would not then the mother have demanded? With what cries and exclamations would she have stunned your ears! What shall we say then, when a woman, guilty of homicide, a mother, of the murder of her innocent child, hath comprised all those misdeeds in one single crime? a crime, in its own nature, detestable ; in a woman, prodigious ; in a mother, incredible ; and perpetrated against one whose age called for compassion, whose near relation claimed affection, and whose innocence deserved the highest favour.”
We have now finished what was proposed, concerning Perspicuity in single words and phrases, and the accurate construction of sentences. The former has been considered proper use of Figurative Language. Though many of those attentions which have been recommended, may appear minute, yet their effect upon writing and style, is much greater than might, at first, he imagined. A sentiment which is expressed in accurate language, and in a period, clearly, neatly, and well arranged, always makes a stronger impression on the mind, than one that is expressed inaccurat-ly, or in a fee-, ble or embarrassed manner. Every one feels this upon a comparison : and if the effect be sensible in one sentence, how much more in a whole discourse, or composition that is made up of such sentences?
The fundamental rul- for writing with accuracy, and into. which all others might be resolved, undoubtedly is, to communicate, in correct language, and in the clearest and most natural order, the ideas which we mean to transfuse into the minds of others. Such a selection and arrangement of words, as do mus: justice to the g-use, and express it to most advantage, make an agreeable and strong impression. To these points have tended all the rules which have been given. Did we always think clearly, and were we, at the same time, fully masters of the language in which we write, there would be occasion for few rules. Our sentences would then, of course, acquire all those properties of clearness, unity, str ngth, and accuracy, which have been recommended. For we may rest assured, that whenever we express ourselves ill, besides tive mismanagi mint of language, there is, for the most part, som- mistake in our manner of conceiving the subject. ' Embarrassed, obscure, and feeble sentences, are generally, if not always, the result of embarrassed, obscure, and feeble thought. Thought and expression act and re-act upon each other. The understanding and language have a strict connexion ; and they who are learning to compose and arrange their sentences with accuracy and order, are learning, at thr same time, to think with accuracy and order ; a consideration which alone will recompense the student, for his attention to this branch of literature. further explanation of the Figures of Speech, see the Octava Grammar, on this subject.
TO YOUNG STUDENTS.
The Compiler of these elements of the English language, hopes it will not be deemed inconsistent with the nature and design of his work, to make a short address to the young persons engaged in the study of it, respecting their future walks in the paths of literature, and the chief purpose to which they should apply their acquisitions.
In forming this Grammar, and the volume of Illustrations connected with it, the author was influenced by a desire to facilitate your progress in learning, and, at the same time, to impress on your minds principles of piety and virtue. He wished also to assist, in some degree, the labours of those who are cultivating your understandings, and providing for you a fund of rational and useful employment; an employment calculated to exclude those frivolous pursuits, and that love of ease and sensual pleasure, which enfeeble and corrupt the minds of many inconsiderate youth, and render them useless to society.
Without your own best exertions, the concern of others for your welfare, will be of little avail: with them, you may fairly promise yourselves success. The writer of this address, therefore, recommends to you, an earnest co