« הקודםהמשך »
much better to say, “ Avarice is a crime, of which wise “ men are often guilty," than to say, “ Avarice is a “ crime, which wise men are often guilty of.” This is a phraseology, which all correct writers fhun.
A complex verb, compounded of a simple verb and a subsequent preposition, is also an ungraceful conclusion of a period ; as bring about, clear up, give over, and many others of the same kind ; instead of which, if a simple verb be employed, it will terminate the sentence with more strength. Even the pronoun it, especially when joined with some of the prepositions, as with it, in it, to it, cannot without violation of grace be the conclusion of ą. fentence. Any phrase, which expresses a circumstance only, cannot conclude a sentence without great inelegance. - Circumstances indeed are like unshapely stones in a building, which try the skill of an artist, where to place them with the least offence. We should not crowd too many of them together ; but rather intersperse. them in different parts of the sentence, joined with the principal words, on which they depend. Thus, for instance, when Dean Swift says, “What I had the hone s or of mentioning to your Lordship sometime ago in “ conversation, was not a new thought ;" these two circumstances, fometime ago and in conversation, which are joined, would have been better separated thus ; “What I had the honor some time ago of mentioning. *s to your Lordship in conversation.”
The sixth and last rule concerning the strength of a fentence is this, in the members of it, where two things are compared or contrasted; where either resemblance or opposition is to be expressed; some resemblance in the language and construction ought to be observed. The following passage from Pope's preface to his Homer beautifully exemplifies this rule. "Homer was “the greater genius ; Virgil the better artist; in the “ one we admire the man; in the other the work.. “ Homer hurries us with a commanding impetuosity; “ Virgil leads us with an attractive majesty. Homer “scatters with a generous profusion ; Virgil bestows “ with a careful magnificence. Homer, like the Nile, " pours out his riches with a sudden overflow ; Virgil, “ like a river in its banks, with a constant stream. " When we look upon their machines, Homer seems " like his own Jupiter in his terrors, shaking Olympus, s scattering lightnings, and firing the heavens. Vir“gil like the same power in his benevolence, counsel.
ling with the Gods, laying plans for empires, and or. “ dering his whole creation.” Periods, thus constructed, when introduced with propriety, and not too frequently repeated, have a sensible beauty. But, if such a construction be aimed at in every sentence; it betrays into a disagreeable uniformity, and produces a regular jingle in the period, which tires the car, and plainly dilo covers affectationa
STRUCTURE OF SENTENCES.
HARMONY. H AVING confidered sentences with regard to their meaning under the heads of Perspicuity, Unity, and Strength; we shall now consider them with respect to their sound. | In the harmony of periods two things are to be confidered. First agreeable found or modulation in general without any particular expression. Next the found fo ordered, as to become expressive of the sense. The first is the more common; the second the superior beauty.
The beauty of musical construction depends upon the choice and arrangement of words.' Those words are most pleasing to the ear, which are compofed of fmooth and liquid sounds, in which there is a proper intermixture of vowels and consonants without too many harsh consonants, or too many open vowels in succession. Long words are generally more pleasing to the ear, than monofyllables; and those are the most musical, which are not wholly composed of long or short fyllables, but of an intermixture of them; fuch, as delight, amuse, velocity, celerity, beautiful, impetuofity. If the words, however, which compose a sentence, be ever so well chosen and harmonious ; yet, if they be unskilfully are ranged, its music is entirely loft. As an instance of a musical sentence, we may take the following from Mil. ton; “ We shall conduct you to a hill side, laborious * indeed at the first ascent; but else so smooth, so s green, fo full of goodly prospects and melodious s sounds on every fide, that the harp of Orpheus was “ not more charming." Every thing in this sentence conspires to render it harmonious. The words are well chofen ; laborious, smooth, green, goodly, melodious, charming ; and so happily arranged, that no alteration can be made without injuring the melody.
There are two things, on which the music of a fentence principally depends; these are the proper distribution of the several members of it, and the close or cadence of the whole.
First, the distribution of the several members should be carefully regarded. Whatever is easy to the organs of speech, is always grateful to the ear.' While a period advances, the termination of each member forms a pause in the pronunciation; and these pauses should be so distributed, as to bear a certain musical proportion to each other.' This will be best illustrated by examples. « This discourse concerning the “ easiness of God's commands does all along suppose 6 and acknowledge the difficulties of the first entrance “ upon a religious course; except only in those persons * who have had the happiness to be trained up to re“ ligion by the easy and insensible degrees of a pious " and virtuous education." This sentence is far from being harmonious; owing chiefly to this, that there is but one pause in it, by which it is divided into two members ; each of which is so long, as to require a confide. rable stretch of breath in pronouncing it. On the contrary let us observe the grace of the following passage from Sir William Temple, in which he speaks farcastically of man. « But, God be thanked, his • pride is greater, than his ignorance ; and, what " he wants in knowledge, he supplies by sufficien“cy. When he has looked about him as far, as “ he can, he concludes there is no more to be seen ; " when he is at the end of his line, he is at the bottom * of the ocean; when he has shot his best, he is sure “ none ever did, or ever can shoot better, or beyond it. “ His own reason he holds to be the certain measure of “ truth ; and his own knowledge of what is possible in « nature.” Here every thing is at once easy to the breath, and grateful to the ear. We must however obferve that, if composition abound with sentences, which have too many rests, and these placed at intervals apparently measured and regular, it is apt to favor of affectation.