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As examples of didactic poetry, the student is referred to Pope's * Moral Essays," and, for instances of descriptive poetry, to his “Windsor Forest,” to Milton's “ L'Allegro,” and “I Penseroso," and to Thomson's “ Seasons."
Among the examples of didactic poetry, Akenside's “Pleasures of the Imagination,” and Young's “Night Thoughts,” should not be forgotten.* In the opinion of Johnson, the versification of the former work is considered equal, if not superior, to that of any other specimen of blank verse in the language. Of Young's “Night Thoughts” it may be said, although it has been stigmatized as a long, lugubrious poem, opposed in its composition to every rule of sound criticism, full of extravagant metaphors, astounding hyperboles, and never-ending antitheses, that few poems in any language present such a concentration of thought, such a rich fund of poetical beauties, so numerous and brilliant corruscations of genius, and so frequent occurrence of passages of the pathetic and the sublime.t
* Another class of poems, uniting the didactic and the descriptive classes, may be mentioned, which are. called the Sentimental. Pleasures of Memory,” by Rogers, “ The Pleasures of Hope," by Campbell, belong to this class. “ The Deserted Village,” and “ The Traveller,'" by Goldsmith, are of the same class, and can scarcely be too highly estimated.
† The author has here, as in some other parts of the preceding remarks, departed from the expressions of Mr. Booth, to whose excellent work on the principles of English Composition he is largely indebted, here as else where, in this volume.
We know that he perished; yet why shed a tear!
Sing dodo — dodo – jolly dodo!
V. The REMONSTRATIVE, addressed to those who do not believe there Ever was a dodo.
What! disbelieve the dodo!
The like was never neard !
Of such a wondrous bird !
When quite a little boy,
My heart beat high with joy.
I think now how my uncle
One morning went to town
Which cost him half a crown.
Such rapture could impart;
It wounds my inmost heart."
Satires are discourses or poems in whick wickedness ang folly are exposed with severity, or held up to ridicule. They differ from Lampoons and Pasquinades, in being general, rather than personal, and from sarcasm, in not expressing contempt or scorn,
Satires are usually included under the head of didactic poems, but every class of poems may include the satirical. In satires it is the class, the crime, or the folly, which is the proper object of attack, and not the ndividual
A Lampoon, or Pasquinade, is a personal satire, written with the intention of reproaching, irritating, or vexing the individual, rather than to reform him. It is satisfied with low abuse and vituperation, rather than with proof or argument.
An Apophthegm, Apothegm, or Apothem, is a short, senventious, instructive remark, usually in prose, but rarely in verse, uttered on a particular occasion, or by a distinguished character; as that of Cato:
“Men, by doing nothing, soon learn to do mischief.”
war different styles with different subjects sortą
on the Introduction to this volume, it was stated that the most obvious divisions of Composition, with respect to the nature of its subjects, are the Narrative, the Descriptive, the Didactic, the Persuasive, the Pathetic, and the Argumentative. The Narrative division embraces the relation of facts and events, real or fictitious. The Descriptive division includes descriptions of all kinds.
The Didactic division comprehends, as its name implies, all kinds of pieces which are designed to convey instruction. The Pathetic division empraces such writings as are calculated to affect the feelings, or excite the passions; and the Argumentative division includes Hose only which are addressed to the understanding, with the
intention of affecting the judgment. These different divisions of composition are not always preserved distinct, but are sometimes united or mixed. With regard to forms of expression, a writer may express his ideas in various ways, thus laying the foundation of a distinction called STYLE.
Style, is defined by. Dr. Blair, to be “the peculiar manner in which. a writer expresses his thoughts by words.”
Various terms are applied to style to express its character, as a harsb style, a dry style, a tumid or bombastic style, a loose style a terse style, a laconic or a verbose style, a flowing style, a lofty style, an elegant style an epistolary style, a formal style, a familiar style, &c.
The divisions of style, as given by Dr. Blair, are as follows: The dif fuse and the concise, the nervous and the feeble, the dry, the plain, tho neat, the elegant and the florid, the simple, the affected, and the vehe. ment. These terms are altogether arbitrary, and are not uniformly ad opted in every treatise on rhetoric. Some writers use the terms barren and luxuriant, forcible and vehement, elevated and dignified, idiomatic, easy and animated, &c., in connexion with the terms, or some of the terms, employed by Dr. Blair.
The character of style, and the term by which it is designated, depends partly on the clearness and fulness with which the idea is expressed, partly on the degree of ornament or of figurative language employed, and partly on the nature of the ideas themselves.
The terms concise, diffuse, nervous, and feeble, refer to the clearness, the fulness, and the force with which the idea is expressed. Dry, plain, neat, and florid, are terms used to express the degree of ornament employed: while the character of the thoughts or ideas themselves is expressed by the names of simple or natural, affected and vehement.
A concise * writer compresses his ideas into the fewest words, and these the most expressive.
A diffuse writer unfolds his idea fully, by placing it in a variety of lights.
A nervous writer gives us a strong idea of his meaning - his words are always expressive -- every phrase and every figure renders the picture which he would set before us more striking and complete.
A feeble writer has an indistinct view of his subject; unmeaning words and loose epithets escape him; his expressions are vague and general, his arrangements indistinct, and our conception of his meaning will be faint and confused.
* Under the head of Conciseness in style may be noticed what is called the Laconic Style, from the inhabitants of Laconia who were remarkable for using few words. As an instance of that kind of style, may be mentioned the celebrated reply of Leonidas king of Sparta to Xerxes, who, with his army of over a million of men, was opposed by Leonidas, with only three hundred. When Xerxes sent to him with the haughty direction to lay down his arms, the Spartan king replied, with characteristic brevity,
Come and take them."
Another instance of the same is afforded in the celebrated letter of Dr. Franklin to Dr. Strahan, which is in these words:
“Philadelphia, July 5th, 1775. "Mr. Strahan, “You are a member of that Parliament, and have formed part of that majority, which has condemned my native country to destruction.
"You have begun to burn our towns, and to destroy their inhabitants. “Look at your hands, – they are stained with the blood of your relations and your scquaintances. You and I were long friends ; you are at prese'it my enemy, and I am yours.
“Bez jamin Franklin."
A dry writer uses no ornament of any kind, and, content with being anderstood, aims not to please the fancy or the ear.
A plain writer employs very little ornament; he observes perspicuity, propriety, purity, and precision in his language, but attempts none of the graces of composition. A dry writer is incapable of ornament, a plain writer goes not in pursuit of it.
A neat writer is careful in the choice of his words, and the graceful collocation of them. His sentences are free from the encumbrances of superfluous words, and his figures are short and accurate, rather than bold ind glowing.
An elegant writer possesses all the graces of ornament, — polished periods, igurative language, harmonious expressions, and a great degree of purity n the choice of his words, all characterized by perspicuity and propriety. He is one, in short, who delights the fancy and the ear, while he informs the understanding.
A florid or flowery writer is characterized by excess of ornament; and Beems to be more intent on beauty of language than solidity of thought.
A simple or natural writer is distinguished by simplicity of plan; he makes his thoughts appear to rise naturally from his subject; he has no marks of art in his expressions, and although he may be characterized by great richness both of language and imagination, he appears to write in that way not because he had studied it, but because it is the mode of expression most natural to him.
An affected writer is the very reverse of a simple one. He uses words in uncommon meanings — employs pompous expressions - and his whole manner is characterized by singularity rather than by beauty..
A vehement writer uses strong expressions is characterized by considerable warmth of manner- and presents his ideas clearly and fully before us. *
The following directions are given by Dr. Blair for attaining a good style:
The first direction is, study clear ideas of the subject on which you are to write or speak. What we conceive clearly and feel strongly, we naturally express with clearness and strength.
Secondly, to the acquisition of a good style, frequency of composing is indispensably necessary. But it is not every kind of composition that will improve style. By a careless and hasty habit of writing, a bad style will be acquired. In the beginning, therefore, we ought to write slowly and with much care. Facility and speed are the fruit of experience.
Thirdly, acquaintance with the style of the best authors is peculiarly requisite. Hence a just taste will be formed, and a copious fund of words supplied on every subject. No exercise, perhaps, will be found more useful for acquiring a proper style, than translating some passage from an eminent author in our own words, and then comparing what we have written with the style of the author. Such an exercise will show us our defects will teach us to correct them, and, from the variety of expression which it will exhibit, will conduct us to that which is most beautiful.
Fourthly, caution must be used against servile imitation of any author whatever. Desire of imitating hampers genius, and generally produces stiffness of expression. They who copy an author closely, commonly copy his faults as well as his beauties. It is much better to have something of our own, though of moderate beauty, than to shine in borrowed ornamente wbich will at last betray the poverty of our genius.
• The student who would see the subject of style treated with great clearness and beauty, will fint treated with much elegance and ability in Neroman's Rhetorick." His remarka on vivacity of style are particularly recommended to the careful study of the 'Arpat,
Fifthly, always adapt your* style to the subject, and likewise to the capacity cf your hearers or readers. When we are to write or to speak, we should previously fix in our minds a clear idea of the end aimed at keep this steadily in view, and adapt car style to it. †
Lastly, let not attention to style engross us * so much, as to prevent a nigher degree of attention to the thoughts. He is a contemptible writer, ho looks
beyond the dress of language; who lays not th apon his matter, and employs not such ornaments of style as are manly not foppish.
DIRECTIONS TO STUDENTS IN REVISING AND COKRECTING THEIR COMPOSITIONS, BEFORE THEY ARE PRESENTED TO THE TEACHER.
Read over your exercise to ascertain, 1. whether the words are correctly spelled ; 2. the pauses and capital letters are properly used; 3. that the possessive case is correctly written with the apostrophe and the letter s ;. 4. the hyphen placed between the parts of a compound word, and also used at the end of the line when part of the word is in one line and another part in the succeeding line (recollecting, in this case, that the letters of the same syllable must all be written in the same line); 5. that the marks of quotation are inserted when you
have borrowed a sentence or an expression from any one else; 6. whether the pronouns are all of the same number with their antecedents, and the verbs of the same number with their nominatives ; 7. whether you can get rid of some of the “ands” in your exercise, by means of the rules laid down in Lesson XX., and whether some other words may not be omitted without weakening the expression, and also
* The change of persons in these rules, if not absolutely faulty, is certainly inelegant. The language is literally taken from the abridgment of Dr. Blair's Rhetorick.
+ Two of the greatest faults that can be committed in writing consist in degrading a subject naturally elevated, by low expressions; - and the expressing a mean or trivial idea by high sounding epithets. The former is called Bathos; - and the latter Bombast.
The student who wishes for specimens of the various kinds of style men. tioned above, will find quite a collection of them arranged under their appropriate neads, for examples in rhetoric, in a volume recently prepared by Mrs. L. C. Tuthill And printed and published by S. Babcock, of New Haven, called The Young Ladies Reader." It was the author's design to insert such specimens in this volume, but he finds it necessary to reserve the space which they would occupy for other matter which he deems more important to the completion of his plan. For the same reason he has omitted the specimens which he intended to present in the respective depart ments of Narrative. Descriptire, Didactic, Pathetic, and Argumentative writing.