Précis de versification (Cursus) (French Edition)

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I illustrate this rule by giving examples of deviations from it. Speaking of the distemper contracted by Alexander bathing in the river Cydnus, and of the cure offered by Philip the physician:. Hook, in his Roman history, 37 speaking of Eumenes, who had been beat to the ground with a stone, says,. After a short time he came to himself; and the next day, they put him on board his ship, which conveyed him first to Corinth, and thence to the island of Aegina. I give another example of a period which is unpleasant, even by a very slight deviation from the rule: Edition: ed; Page: [ 40 ].

This expression includes two persons, one acquiring, and one inculcating; and the scene is changed without necessity. To avoid this blemish, the thought may be expressed thus:. The bad effect of such change of person is remarkable in the following passage. The Britons, daily harassed by cruel inroads from the Picts, were forced to call in the Saxons for their defence, who consequently reduced the greatest part of the island to their own power, drove the Britons into the most remote and mountainous parts, and the rest of the country, in customs, religion, and language, became wholly Saxons.

The following passage has a change from subject to person. This prostitution of praise is not only a deceit upon the gross of mankind, who take their notion of characters from the learned; but also the better sort must by this means lose some part at least of that desire of fame which is the incentive to generous actions, when they find it promiscuously bestowed on the meritorious and undeserving. Even so slight a change as to vary the construction in the same period, is unpleasant:. Annibal luce prima, Balearibus levique alia armatura praemissa, transgressus flumen, ut quosque traduxerat, ita in acie locabat; Gallos Hispanosque equites prope ripam laevo in cornu adversus Romanum equitatum; dextrum cornu Numidis equitibus datum.

Eo magis ruere in suos belluae, tantoque majorem stragem edere quam inter hostes ediderant, quanto acrius pavor consternatam agit, quam insidentis magistri imperio regitur. This passage is also faulty in a different respect, that there is no resemblance between the members of the sentence, though they express a simile.

The present head, which relates to the choice of materials, shall be closed with a rule concerning the use of copulatives. Longinus observes, that it animates a period to drop the copulatives; and he gives the following example from Xenophon. The reason I take to be what follows. A conti- Edition: ed; Page: [ 42 ] nued sound, if not loud, tends to lay us asleep: an interrupted sound rouses and animates by its repeated impulses.

Thus feet composed of syllables, being pronounced with a sensible interval between each, make more lively impressions than can be made by a continued sound. A period of which the members are connected by copulatives, produceth an effect upon the mind approaching to that of a continued sound; and therefore the suppressing copulatives must animate a description.

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It produces a different effect akin to that mentioned: the members of a period connected by proper copulatives, glide smoothly and gently along; and are a proof of sedateness and leisure in the speaker: on the other hand, one in the hurry of passion, neglecting copulatives and other particles, expresses the principal image only; and for that reason, hurry or quick action is best expressed without copulatives:. Veni, vidi, vici. It follows, that a plurality of copulatives in the same period ought to be avoided: for if the laying aside copulatives give force and liveliness, a redundancy of them must render the period languid.

I appeal to the following instance, though there are but two copulatives. Upon looking over the letters of my female correspondents, I find several from women complaining of jealous husbands; and at the same time protesting their own innocence, and desiring my advice upon this occasion. I except the case where the words are intended to express the coldness of the speaker; for there the redundancy of copulatives is a beauty:.

And the author shows great delicacy of taste by varying the expression in the mouth of Peter, who is represented more animated:. We proceed to the second kind of beauty; which consists in a due arrangement of the words or materials. This branch of the subject is no less nice than extensive; and I despair of setting it in a clear light, except to those who are well acquainted with the general principles that govern the structure or composition of language.

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In a thought, generally speaking, there is at least one capital object considered as acting or as suffering. This object is expressed by a substantive noun: its action is expressed by an active verb; and the thing affected by the action is expressed by another substantive noun: its suffering Edition: ed; Page: [ 45 ] or passive state is expressed by a passive verb; and the thing that acts upon it, by a substantive noun.

Beside these, which are the capital parts of a sentence or period, there are generally under-parts; each of the substantives as well as the verb, may be qualified: time, place, purpose, motive, means, instrument, and a thousand other circumstances, may be necessary to complete the thought.

And in what manner these several parts are connected in the expression, will appear from what follows. In a complete thought or mental proposition, all the members and parts are mutually related, some slightly, some intimately. To put such a thought in words, it is not sufficient that the component ideas be clearly expressed; Edition: current; Page: [ ] it is also necessary, that all the relations contained in the thought be expressed according to their different degrees of intimacy. To annex a certain meaning to a certain sound or word, requires no art: the great nicety in all languages is, to express the various relations that connect the parts of the thought.

Could we suppose this branch of language to be still a secret, it would puzzle, I am apt to think, the acutest grammarian, to invent an expeditious method: and yet, by the guidance merely of nature, the rude and illiterate have been led to a method so perfect, as to appear not susceptible of any improvement; and the next step in our progress shall be to explain that method.

Edition: ed; Page: [ 46 ]. Words that import a relation, must be distinguished from such as do not. Substantives commonly imply no relation; such as animal, man, tree, river. Adjectives, verbs, and adverbs, imply a relation: the adjective good must relate to some being possessed of that quality: the verb write is applied to some person who writes; and the adverbs moderately, diligently, have plainly a reference to some action which they modify.

When a relative word is introduced, it must be signified by the expression to what word it relates, without which the sense is not complete. For answering that purpose, I observe in Greek and Latin two different methods. Adjectives are declined as well as substantives; and declension serves to ascertain their connection: If the word that expresses the subject be, for example, in the nominative case, so also must the word be that expresses its quality; example, vir bonus: again, verbs are related, on the one hand, to the agent, and, on the other, to the subject upon which the action is exerted: and a contrivance similar to that now mentioned, serves to express the double relation; the nominative case is appropriated to the agent, the accusative to the passive subject; and the verb is put in the first, second, or third person, to intimate its connection with the word that signifies the agent: examples, Ego amo Tulliam; tu amas Semproniam; Brutus amat Portiam.

It must be obvious, that those terms which have nothing relative in their signification, cannot be connected in so easy a manner. When two substantives happen to be connected, as cause and effect, as principal and accessory, or in any other manner, such connection cannot be expressed by contiguity solely; for words must often in a period be placed together which are not thus related: the relation between substantives, therefore, cannot otherwise be expressed but by particles denoting the relation.

Latin indeed and Greek, by their declensions, go a certain length to express Edition: ed; Page: [ 48 ] such relations, without the aid of particles. But in other instances, declensions not being used in the English language, relations of this kind are commonly expressed by prepositions. Examples: That wine came from Cyprus. He is going to Paris. The sun is below the horizon.

This form of connecting by prepositions, is not confined to substantives. Qualities, attributes, manner of existing or acting, and all other circumstances, may in the same manner be connected with the substances to which they relate. I observe, beside, that the using a preposition in this case, is not Edition: current; Page: [ ] always a matter of choice: it is indispensable with respect to every circumstance that cannot be expressed by a single adjective or adverb.

To pave the way for the rules of arrangement, Edition: ed; Page: [ 49 ] one other preliminary is necessary; which is, to explain the difference between a natural style, and that where transposition or inversion prevails. There are, it is true, no precise boundaries between them, for they run into each other like the shades of different colours.

In a natural style, relative words are by juxtaposition connected with those to which they relate, going before or after, according to the peculiar genius of the language. Again, a circumstance connected by a preposition, follows naturally the word with which it is connected. But this arrangement may be varied, when a different order is more beautiful: a circumstance may be placed before the word with which it is connected by a preposition; and may be interjected even between a relative word and that to which it relates.

When such liberties are frequently taken, the style becomes inverted or transposed. But as the liberty of inversion is a capital point in the present subject, it will be necessary to examine it more narrowly, and in particular to trace the several degrees in which an inverted style recedes more and more from that which is natural. And first, as to the placing a circumstance before Edition: ed; Page: [ 50 ] the word with which it is connected, I observe, that it is the easiest of all inversion, even so easy as to be consistent with a style that is properly termed natural: witness the following examples.

At St. Woolston, who writ against the miracles of our Saviour , in the utmost terrors of conscience, made a public recantation. The interjecting a circumstance between a relative word and that to which it relates, is more properly termed inversion; because, by a disjunction of words intimately connected, it recedes farther from a natural style.

But this licence has degrees; for the disjunction is more violent in some instances than in others. And to give a just notion of the difference, there is a necessity to enter a little more into an abstract subject, than would otherwise be my inclination.

I cannot conceive a quality Edition: ed; Page: [ 51 ] but as belonging to some subject: it makes indeed a part of the idea which is formed of the subject. Such partial conception of a subject, is still more easy with respect to action or motion; which is an occasional attribute only, and has not the same permanency with colour or figure: I cannot form an idea of motion independent of a body; but there is nothing more easy than to form an idea of a body at rest. Hence it appears, that the degree of inversion depends greatly on the order in which the related words are placed: when a substantive occupies the first place, the idea it suggests must subsist in the mind at least for a moment, independent of the relative words afterward introduced; and that moment may without difficulty be prolonged by interjecting a circumstance between the substantive and its connections.

This liberty, therefore, however frequent, will scarce alone be sufficient to denominate a style inverted. The case is very different, where the word that occupies the first place denotes a quality or an action; for as these cannot be conceived without a subject, they cannot without greater violence be separated from the subject that follows; Edition: ed; Page: [ 52 ] and for that reason, every such separation by means of an interjected circumstance belongs to an inverted style.

To illustrate this doctrine, examples are necessary; and I shall begin with those where the word first introduced does not imply a relation:. In the following examples, where the word first introduced imports a relation, the disjunction will be found more violent. Language would have no great power, were it confined to the natural order of ideas.

I shall soon have opportunity to make it evident, that by inversion a thousand beauties may be compassed, which must be relinquished in a natural arrangement. The following example with relation to a preposition, is perhaps as tolerable as any of the kind: Edition: ed; Page: [ 54 ]. He would neither separate from, nor act against them. I give notice to the reader, that I am now ready to enter on the rules of arrangement; beginning with a natural style, and proceeding gradually to what is the most inverted.

And in the arrangement of a period, as well as in a right choice of words, the first and great object being perspicuity, the rule above laid down, that perspicuity ought not to be sacrificed to any other beauty, holds equally in both. Ambiguities occasioned by a wrong arrangement are of two sorts; one where the arrangement leads to a wrong sense, and one where the sense is left doubtful.

The first, being the more culpable, shall take the lead, beginning with examples of words put in a wrong place. How much the imagination of such a presence must exalt a genius, we may observe merely from the influence which an ordinary presence has over men. This arrangement leads to a wrong sense: the adverb merely seems by its position to affect the preceding word; whereas it is intended to affect the following words, an ordinary presence; and therefore the arrangement ought to be thus:.

How much the imagination of such a presence must exalt a genius, we may observe from the influence which an ordinary presence merely has over men. Edition: ed; Page: [ 55 ]. The time of the election of a poet-laureat being now at hand, it may be proper to give some account of the rites and ceremonies anciently used at that solemnity, and only discontinued through the neglect and degeneracy of later times. The term only is intended to qualify the noun degeneracy, and not the participle discontinued; and therefore the arrangement ought to be as follows:.

Sixtus the Fourth was, if I mistake not, a great collector of books at least. The expression here leads evidently to a wrong sense; the adverb at least, ought not to be connected with the substantive books, but with collector thus:. If he was not the greatest king, he was the best actor of majesty at least, that ever filled a throne. This arrangement removes the wrong sense occasioned by the juxtaposition of majesty and at least. I have confined myself to those methods for the advancement of piety, which are in the power of a prince limited like ours by a strict execution of the laws.

That wrong sense is removed by the following arrangement:. I have confined myself to those methods for the advancement of piety, which, by a strict execution of the laws, are in the power of a prince limited like ours. The wrong sense occasioned by this arrangement, may be easily prevented by varying it thus:. A great stone that I happened to find after a long search by the sea-shore, served me for an anchor. One would think that the search was confined to the sea-shore; but as the meaning is, that the great stone was found by the sea-shore, the period ought to be arranged thus:.

A great stone, that, after a long search, I happened to find by the sea-shore, served me for an anchor. Next of a wrong arrangement where the sense is left doubtful; beginning, as in the former sort, with examples of wrong arrangement of words in a member:. These forms of conversation by degrees multiplied and grew troublesome.

Here it is left doubtful whether the modification by degrees relates to the preceding member or to what follows: it should be,.

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These forms of conversation multiplied by degrees. Edition: ed; Page: [ 58 ]. Nor does this false modesty expose us only to such actions as are indiscreet, but very often to such as are highly criminal. The empire of Blefuscu is an island situated to the north-east side of Lilliput, from whence it is parted only by a channel of yards wide.

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In the following examples the sense is left doubtful by wrong arrangement of members. The minister who grows less by his elevation, like a little statue placed on a mighty pedestal, will always have his jealousy strong about him. Here, as far as can be gathered from the arrangement, it is doubtful, whether the object introduced by way of simile, relate to what goes before or Edition: ed; Page: [ 59 ] to what follows: the ambiguity is removed by the following arrangement:.

Since this is too much to ask of freemen, nay of slaves, if his expectation be not answered, shall he form a lasting division upon such transient motives? Speaking of the superstitious practice of locking up the room where a person of distinction dies:. The knight, seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, upon the death of his mother, ordered all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his chaplain. The knight, seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, ordered, upon the death of his mother, all the apartments to be flung open.

Speaking of some indecencies in conversation: Edition: ed; Page: [ 60 ]. As it is impossible for such an irrational way of conversation to last long among a people that make any profession of religion, or show of modesty, if the country gentlemen get into it, they will certainly be left in the lurch.

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Speaking of a discovery in natural philosophy, that colour is not a quality of matter:. As this is a truth which has been proved incontestably by many modern philosophers, and is indeed one of the finest speculations in that science, if the English reader would see the notion explained at large, he may find it in the eighth chapter of the second book of Mr. A woman seldom asks advice before she has bought her wedding-cloaths. And since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon credit, where fraud is permitted or connived at, or hath no law to punish it, the honest dealer is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage.

And since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon credit, the honest dealer, where fraud is permitted or connived at, or hath no law to punish it, is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage. From these examples, the following observation will occur, that a circumstance ought never to be placed between two capital members of a period; for by such situation it must always be doubtful, as far as we gather from the arrangement, to which of the two members it belongs: where it is interjected, as it ought to be, between parts of the member to which it belongs, the ambiguity is removed, and the capital members are kept distinct, which is a great beauty in composition.

In general, to preserve members distinct that signify things distinguished in the thought, the best method is, Edition: ed; Page: [ 62 ] to place first in the consequent member, some word that cannot connect with what precedes it. If it shall be thought, that the objections here are too scrupulous, and that the defect of perspicuity is easily supplied by accurate punctuation; the answer is, That punctuation may remove an ambiguity, but will never produce that peculiar beauty which is perceived when the sense comes out clearly and distinctly by means of a happy arrangement.

Such influence has Edition: current; Page: [ ] this beauty, that by a natural transition of perception, it is communicated to the very sound of the words, so as in appearance to improve the music of the period. But as this curious subject comes in more properly afterward, it is sufficient at present to appeal to experience, that a period so arranged as to bring out the sense clear, seems always more musical than where the sense is left in any degree doubtful.

A rule deservedly occupying the second place, is, That words expressing things connected in the thought, ought to be placed as near together as possible. The bad effect of a violent separation of words or members thus intimately connected, will appear from the following examples. For the English are naturally fanciful, and very often disposed, by that gloominess and melancholy of temper which is so frequent in our nation, to many wild notions and visions, to which others are not so liable.

Here the verb or assertion is, by a pretty long circumstance, violently separated from the subject to which it refers: this makes a harsh arrangement; the less excusable that the fault is easily prevented by placing the circumstance before the verb, after the following manner:. Edition: ed; Page: [ 64 ]. From whence we may date likewise the rivalship of the house of France, for we may reckon that of Valois and that of Bourbon as one upon this occasion, and the house of Austria, that continues at this day, and has oft cost so much blood and so much treasure in the course of it.

It cannot be impertinent or ridiculous therefore in such a country, whatever it might be in the Abbot of St. If Scipio, who was naturally given to women, for which anecdote we have, if I mistake not, the authority of Polybius, as well as some verses of Nevius preserved by Aulus Gellius, had been educated by Olympias at the court of Philip, it is improbable that he would have restored the beautiful Spaniard. If any one have a curiosity for more specimens of this kind, they will be found without number in the works of the same author.

A pronoun, which saves the naming a person or thing a second time, ought to be placed as near as possible to the name of that person or thing. This is a branch of the foregoing rule; and with the Edition: ed; Page: [ 65 ] reason there given, another concurs, viz. That if other ideas intervene, it is difficult to recal the person or thing by reference:. If I had leave to print the Latin letters transmitted to me from foreign parts, they would fill a volume, and be a full defence against all that Mr. Partridge, or his accomplices of the Portugal inquisition, will be ever able Edition: current; Page: [ ] to object; who, by the way, are the only enemies my predictions have ever met with at home or abroad.

Tom is a lively impudent clown, and has wit enough to have made him a pleasant companion, had it been polished and rectified by good manners. It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they see any Edition: ed; Page: [ 66 ] printed or written paper upon the ground, to take it up, and lay it aside carefully, as not knowing but it may contain some piece of their Alcoran. The arrangement here leads to a wrong sense, as if the ground were taken up, not the paper.

The following rule depends on the communication of emotions to related objects; a principle in human nature that hath an extensive operation: and we find this operation, even where the objects are not otherwise related Edition: current; Page: [ ] than by juxtaposition of the words that express them. Hence, to elevate or depress an object, one method is, to join it in the expression with another that is naturally high or low: witness the following speech of Eumenes to the Roman senate. Causam veniendi sibi Roman fuisse, praeter cupiditatem visendi deos hominesque, quorum beneficio in ea fortuna esset, supra quam ne optare quidem auderet, etiam ut coram moneret senatum ut Persei conatus obviam iret.

To join the Romans with the gods in the same enunciation, is an artful stroke of flattery, because it tacitly puts them on a level. On the other Edition: ed; Page: [ 67 ] hand, the degrading or vilifying an object, is done successfully by ranking it with one that is really low:. I hope to have this entertainment in a readiness for the next winter; and doubt not but it will please more than the opera or puppet-show. Manifold have been the judgements which Heaven from time to time, for the chastisement of a sinful people, has inflicted upon whole nations. Of this kind, in our own unfortunate country, was that destructive pestilence, whose mortality was so fatal as to sweep away, if Sir William Petty may be believed, five millions of Christian souls, besides women and Jews.

Such also was that dreadful conflagration ensuing in this famous metropolis of London, which consumed, according to the computation of Sir Samuel Moreland, , houses, not to mention churches and stables. But on condition it might pass into a law, I would gladly exempt both lawyers of all ages, subaltern and field officers, young heirs, dancing-masters, pick-pockets, and players.

In the arrangement of a period, such under-parts crowded together make a poor figure; and never are graceful but when interspersed among the capital parts. I illustrate this rule by the following example. Here two circumstances, viz. If there be room for a choice, the sooner a circumstance is introduced, the better; because circumstances are proper for that coolness of mind, with which we begin a period as well as a volume: in the progress, the mind warms, and has a greater relish for matters of importance. When a circumstance is placed at the beginning of the period, or near the beginning, the transition from it to the principal subject is agreeable: it is like a- Edition: ed; Page: [ 69 ] scending, or going upward.

On the other hand, to place it late in the period has a bad effect; for after being engaged in the principal subject, Edition: current; Page: [ ] one is with reluctance brought down to give attention to a circumstance. Hence evidently the preference of the following arrangement,. Whether in any country a choice altogether unexceptionable has been made, seems doubtful. For this reason the following period is exceptionable in point of arrangement. I have considered formerly, with a good deal of attention, the subject upon which you command me to communicate my thoughts to you.

And although they may be, and too often are drawn, by the temptations of youth, and the opportunities of Edition: ed; Page: [ 70 ] a large fortune, into some irregularities, when they come forward into the great world; it is ever with reluctance and compunction of mind, because their bias to virtue still continues.

The bad effect of placing a circumstance last or late in a period, will appear from the following examples. Let us endeavour to establish to ourselves an interest in him who holds the reins of the whole creation in his hand. Let us endeavour to establish to ourselves an interest in him, who, in his hand, holds the reins of the whole creation. Edition: ed; Page: [ 71 ].

And Philip the Fourth was obliged at last to conclude a peace, on terms repugnant to his inclination, to that of his people, to the interest of Spain, and to that of all Europe, in the Pyrenean treaty. In arranging a period, it is of importance to determine in what part of it a word makes the greatest figure; whether at the beginning, during the course, or at the close. The breaking silence rouses the attention, and prepares for a deep impression at the beginning: the beginning, however, must yield to the close; which being succeeded by a pause, affords time for a word to make its deepest impression.

The opportunity of a pause should not be thrown away upon accessories, Edition: ed; Page: [ 72 ] but reserved for the principal object, in order that it may make a full impression: which is an additional reason against closing a period with a circumstance. There are however periods that admit not such a structure; and in that case, the capital word ought, Edition: current; Page: [ ] if possible, to be placed in the front, which next to the close is the most advantageous for making an impression.

Hence, in directing our discourse to a man of figure, we ought to begin with his name; and one will be sensible of a degradation, when this rule is neglected, as it frequently is for the sake of verse. I give the following examples. In these examples, the name of the person addressed to, makes a mean figure, being like a circumstance slipt into a corner. Every one must be sensible of a dignity in the invocation at the beginning, which is not attained by that in the middle. I mean not however to censure this passage: on the contrary, it appears beautiful, by distinguishing the respect that is due to a father from that which is due to a son.

The substance of what is said in this and the foregoing section, upon the method of arranging words in a period, so as to make the deepest impression Edition: current; Page: [ ] with respect to sound as well as signification, is comprehended in the following observation: That order of words in a period will always be the most agreeable, where, without obscuring the sense, the most important images, the most sonorous words, and the longest members, bring up the rear.

Hitherto of arranging single words, single members, and single circumstances. But the enumeration of many particulars in the same period is often necessary; and the question is, In what order they should be placed? It does not seem easy, at first view, to bring a subject apparently so loose under any general rule: but luckily, reflecting Edition: ed; Page: [ 74 ] upon what is said in the first chapter about order, we find rules laid down to our hand, which leave us no task but that of applying them to the present question.

And, first, with respect to the enumerating particulars of equal rank, it is laid down in the place quoted, that as there is no cause for preferring any one before the rest, it is indifferent to the mind in what order they be viewed. And it is only necessary to be added here, that for the same reason, it is indifferent in what order they be named. In surveying a number of such objects, beginning at the least, and proceeding to greater and greater, the mind swells gradually with the successive objects, and in its progress has a very sensible pleasure.

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Precisely for the same reason, words expressive of such objects ought to be placed in the same order. The beauty of this figure, which may be termed a climax in sense, has escaped lord Bolingbroke in the first member of the following period:. Let but one great, brave, disinterested, active man arise, and he will be received, followed, and almost adored. The following arrangement has sensibly a better effect: Edition: ed; Page: [ 75 ]. Whether the same rule ought to be followed in enumerating men of different ranks, seems doubtful: on the one hand, a number of persons presented to the eye in form of an increasing series, is undoubtedly the most Edition: current; Page: [ ] agreeable order: on the other hand, in every list of names, we set the person of the greatest dignity at the top, and descend gradually through his inferiors.

Where the purpose is to honour the persons named according to their rank, the latter order ought to be followed; but every one who regards himself only, or his reader, will choose the former order. I shall give one familiar example. Talking of the parts of a column, the base, the shaft, the capital, these are capable of six different arrangements, and the question is, Which is the best? When we have in view the erecting a column, we are naturally led to express the parts in the order above mentioned; which at the same time is agreeable by ascending.

But considering the column as it stands, without reference to its erec- Edition: ed; Page: [ 76 ] tion, the sense of order, as observed above, requires the chief part to be named first: for that reason we begin with the shaft; and the base comes next in order, that we may ascend from it to the capital.

Lastly, In tracing the particulars of any natural operation, order requires that we follow the course of nature: historical facts are related in the order of time: we begin at the founder of a family, and proceed from him to his descendants: but in describing a lofty oak, we begin with the trunk, and ascend to the branches. When force and liveliness of expression are demanded, the rule is, to suspend the thought as long as possible, and to bring it out full and entire at the close: which cannot be done but by inverting the natural arrangement.

By introducing a word or member before its time, curiosity is raised about what is to follow; and it is agreeable to have our curiosity gratified at the close of the period: the pleasure we feel resembles that of seeing a stroke exerted upon a body by the whole collected force of the agent. On the other hand, where a period is so constructed as to admit more than one complete close in the sense, the curiosity of the reader is exhausted at the first close, and what follows appears languid or superfluous: his disappointment contributes also to that appearance, when he finds, contrary to expectation, that the period is not yet finished.

Cicero, and after him Quintilian, recommend the verb to the last place. Edition: ed; Page: [ 77 ] This method evidently tends to Edition: current; Page: [ ] suspend the sense till the close of the period; for without the verb the sense cannot be complete: and when the verb happens to be the capital word, which it frequently is, it ought at any rate to be the last, according to another rule, above laid down.

I proceed as usual to illustrate this rule by examples. The following period is placed in its natural order. Were instruction an essential circumstance in epic poetry, I doubt whether a single instance could be given of this species of composition, in any language. The period thus arranged admits a full close upon the word composition; after which it goes on languidly, and closes without force. This blemish will be avoided by the following arrangement:. Were instruction an essential circumstance in epic poetry, I doubt whether, in any language, a single instance could be given of this species of composition.

Some of our most eminent divines have made use of this Platonic notion, as far as it regards the subsistence of our passions after death, with great beauty and strength of reason. Edition: ed; Page: [ 78 ]. Men of the best sense have been touched, more or less, with these groundless horrors and presages of futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent works of nature.

She soon informed him of the place he was in, which, notwithstanding all its horrors, appeared to him more sweet than the bower of Mahomet, in the company of his Balsora. The Emperor was so intent on the establishment of his absolute power in Hungary, that he exposed the Empire doubly to desolation and ruin for the sake of it. None of the rules for the composition of periods are more liable to be abused, than those last mentioned; witness many Latin writers, among the Edition: ed; Page: [ 79 ] moderns especially, whose style, by inversions too violent, is rendered harsh and obscure.

Suspension of the thought till the close of the period, ought never to be preferred before perspicuity.

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How much the imagination of such a presence must exalt a genius, we may observe merely from the influence which an ordinary presence has over men. Vatican City, Vat. Very probably that notation simply recorded his ownership of the volume. Unfortunately, there is no common agreement about the nature of the rhythmical cadences. However, when we come to Alexander II — there is no longer any room for doubt. The wise man is happy when he gains his own approbation; the fool when he recommends himself to the applause of those about him. But against the Syriac text is, in the first place, the external testimony of antiquity, especially that of Eusebius, who confessedly knew of and used seven epistles, whereas the oldest of the three manuscripts of this version, according to Cureton, belongs at the earliest to the sixth century, a period, when the longer copy also had become circulated through all the East, and that too in a Syriac translation, as the fragments given by Cureton show.

Neither ought such suspension to be attempted in a long period; because in that case the mind is bewildered amidst a profusion of words: a traveller, while he is puzzled about the road, relishes not the finest prospect:. All the rich presents which Astyages had given him at parting, keeping only some Median horses, in order to propagate the breed of them in Persia, he distributed among his friends whom he left at the court of Ecbatana. The foregoing rules concern the arrangement of a single period: I add one rule more concerning the distribution of a discourse into different periods.

A short period is lively and familiar: a long period, requiring more attention, makes an impression grave and solemn. For that reason, the commencement of a letter to a very young lady on her marriage is faulty:. Madam, The hurry and impertinence of receiving and paying visits on account of your marriage, being now over, you are beginning to enter into a course of life, where you will want much advice to divert you from falling into many errors, fopperies, and follies, to which your sex is subject.

Before proceeding farther, it may be proper to review the rules laid down in this and the preceding section, in order to make some general observations. That order of the words and members of a period is justly termed natural, which corresponds to the natural order of the ideas that compose the thought. The tendency of many of the foregoing rules is to substitute an artificial arrangement, in order to catch some beauty either of sound or meaning for which there is no place in the natural order.

But seldom it happens, that in the same period there is place for a plurality of Edition: ed; Page: [ 81 ] these rules: if one beauty can be retained, another must be relinquished; and the only question is, Which ought to be preferred? This question cannot be resolved by any general rule: if the natural order be not relished, a few trials will discover that artificial order which has the best effect; and this exercise, supported by a good taste, will in time make the choice easy.

All that can be said in general is, that in making a choice, sound ought to yield to signification. The transposing words and members out of their natural order, so remarkable in the learned languages, has been the subject of much speculation. It is agreed on all hands, that such transposition or inversion bestows upon a period a very sensible degree of force and elevation; and yet writers Edition: current; Page: [ ] seem to be at a loss how to account for this effect. This indeed is one effect of inversion; but neither its sole effect, nor even that which is the most remarkable, as is made evident above.

But waving Edition: ed; Page: [ 82 ] censure, which is not an agreeable task, I enter into the matter; and begin with observing, that if conformity between words and their meaning be agreeable, it must of course be agreeable to find the same order or arrangement in both. Hence the beauty of a plain or natural style, where the order of the words corresponds precisely to the order of the ideas. Nor is this the single beauty of a natural style: it is also agreeable by its simplicity and perspicuity. This observation throws light upon the subject: for if a natural style be in itself agreeable, a transposed style cannot be so; and therefore its agreeableness must arise from admitting some positive beauty that is excluded in a natural style.

To be confirmed in this opinion, we need but reflect upon some of the foregoing rules, which make it evident, that language, by means of inversion, is susceptible of many beauties that are totally excluded in a natural arrangement. From these premises it clearly follows, that inversion ought not to be indulged, unless in order to reach some beauty superior to those of a natural style. It may with great certainty be pronounced, that every inversion which is not governed by this rule, will appear harsh and strained, and be disrelished by every one of taste.

Hence the beauty of inversion when happily conducted; the beauty, not of an end, but of means, as furnishing opportunity for numberless ornaments that find no place in a natural style: hence the force, the elevation, Edition: ed; Page: [ 83 ] the harmony, the cadence, of some compositions: hence the manifold beauties of the Greek and Roman tongues, of which living languages afford but faint imitations. A Resemblance between the sound of certain words and their signification, is a beauty that has escaped no critical writer, and yet is not handled with accuracy by any of them.

They have probably been of opinion, that a beauty so obvious to the feeling, requires no explanation. This is an error; and to avoid it, I shall give examples of the various resemblances between sound and signification, accompanied with an endeavour to explain why such resemblances are beautiful. I begin with examples where the resemblance between the sound and signification is the most entire; and next examples where the resemblance is less and less so.

There being frequently a strong resemblance of one sound to another, it will not be surprising to find an articulate sound resembling one that is not articulate: thus the sound of a bow-string is imitated by the words that express it: Edition: ed; Page: [ 84 ]. No person can be at a loss about the cause of this beauty: it is obviously that of imitation. That there is any other natural resemblance of sound to signification, must not be taken for granted.

There is no resemblance of sound to motion, nor of sound to sentiment. Another thing contributes still more to the deceit: in language, sound and sense being intimately connected, the properties of the one are readily communicated to the other; for example, the quality of grandeur, of sweetness, or of melancholy, tho belonging to the thought solely, is transferred to the words, which by that means resemble in appearance the thought that is expressed by them.

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That there may be a resemblance of articulate sounds to some that are not articulate, is self-evident; and that in fact there exist such resemblances successfully employed by writers of genius, is clear from the foregoing examples, Edition: current; Page: [ ] and from many others that might be given. But we may safe- Edition: ed; Page: [ 86 ] ly pronounce, that this natural resemblance can be carried no farther: the objects of the different senses, differ so widely from each other, as to exclude any resemblance: sound in particular, whether articulate or inarticulate, resembles not in any degree taste, smell, nor motion; and as little can it resemble any internal sentiment, feeling, or emotion.

But must we then admit, that nothing but sound can be imitated by sound? Taking imitation in its proper sense, as importing a resemblance between two objects, the proposition must be admitted: and yet in many passages that are not descriptive of sound, every one must be sensible of a peculiar concord between the sound of the words and their meaning.

As there can be no doubt of the fact, what remains is to inquire into its cause. Resembling causes may produce effects that have no resemblance; and causes that have no resemblance may produce resembling effects. We are still more sensible of this resemblance in a song, when the music is properly adapted to the sentiment: there is no resemblance between thought and sound; but there is the strongest resemblance between the emotion raised by music tender and pathetic, and that raised by the complaint of an unsuccessful lover.

Ap- Edition: ed; Page: [ 87 ] plying this observation to the present subject, it appears, that in some instances, the sound even of a single word makes an impression resembling that which is made by the thing it signifies: witness the word running, composed of two short syllables; and more remarkably the words rapidity, impetuosity, precipitation. Brutal manners produce in the spectator an emotion not unlike what is produced by a harsh and rough sound; and hence the beauty of the figurative expression, rugged manners. Again, the word little, being pronounced with a very small aperture of the mouth, has a weak and faint sound, which makes an impression resembling that made by a diminutive object.

This resemblance of effects is still more remarkable where a number of words are connected in a period: words pronounced in succession make often a strong impression; and when this impression happens to accord with that made by the Edition: current; Page: [ ] sense, we are sensible of a complex emotion, peculiarly pleasant; one proceeding from the sentiment, and one from the melody or sound of the words. But the chief pleasure proceeds from having these two concordant emotions combined in perfect harmony, and carried on in the mind to a full close.

In this manner, successive motion, such as walking, running, galloping, can be imitated by a succession of long or short syllables, or by a due mixture of both. For example, slow motion may be justly imitated in a verse where long syllables prevail; especially when aided by a slow pronunciation:. On the other hand, swift motion is imitated by a succession of short syllables:. Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum. Radit iter liquidum, celeres neque commovet alas. Thirdly, A line composed of monosyllables, Edition: ed; Page: [ 89 ] makes an impression, by the frequency of its pauses, similar to what is made by laborious interrupted motion:.

Fourthly, The impression made by rough sounds in succession, resembles that made by rough or tumultuous motion: on the other hand, the impression of smooth sounds resembles that of gentle motion. The following is an example of both. Fifthly, Prolonged motion is expressed in an Alexandrine line. The first example shall be of slow motion prolonged. Edition: ed; Page: [ 90 ]. Again, speaking of a rock torn from the brow of a mountain:. Sixthly, A period consisting mostly of long syllables, that is, of syllables pronounced slow, produceth an emotion resembling faintly that which is produced by gravity and solemnity.

Hence the beauty of the following verse:. Olli sedato respondit corde Latinus. It resembles equally an object that is insipid and uninteresting. Edition: ed; Page: [ 91 ]. Seventhly, A slow succession of ideas is a circumstance that belongs equally to settled melancholy, and to a period composed of polysyllables pronounced slow; and hence, by similarity of emotions, the latter is imitative of the former:.

Eighthly, A long syllable made short, or a short syllable made long, raises, by the difficulty of pronouncing contrary to custom, a feeling similar to that of hard labour:. Ninthly, Harsh or rough words pronounced with difficulty, excite a feeling similar to that which proceeds from the labour of thought to a dull writer:.

I shall close with one example more, which of Edition: ed; Page: [ 92 ] all makes the finest figure. In the first section mention is made of a climax in sound; and in the second, of a climax in sense. It belongs to the present subject to observe, that when these coincide in the same passage, the concordance of sound and sense is delightful: the reader is conscious not only of pleasure from the two climaxes separately, but of an additional pleasure from their concordance, and from finding the sense so justly imitated by the sound.

In this respect, no periods are more perfect than those borrowed from Cicero in the first section. The concord between sense and sound is no less agreeable in what may be termed an anticlimax, where the progress is from great to little; for this has the effect to make diminutive objects appear still more diminutive. Horace affords a striking example:. Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. The arrangement here is singularly artful: the first place is occupied by the verb, which is the capital word by its sense as well as sound: the close is reserved for the word that is the meanest in sense as well as in sound.

And it must not be overlooked, that the resembling sounds of the two last syllables give a ludicrous air to the whole. Reviewing the foregoing examples, it appears to me, contrary to expectation, that in passing from the strongest resemblances to those that are Edition: current; Page: [ ] Edition: ed; Page: [ 93 ] fainter, every step affords additional pleasure.

Renewing the experiment again and again, I feel no wavering, but the greatest pleasure constantly from the faintest resemblances. And yet how can this be? From this vexing dilemma I am happily relieved, by reflecting on a doctrine established in the chapter of resemblance and contrast, that the pleasure of resemblance is the greatest, where it is least expected, and where the objects compared are in their capital circumstances widely different.

Nor will this appear surprising, when we descend to familiar examples. It raiseth no degree of wonder to find the most perfect resemblance between two eggs of the same bird: it is more rare to find such resemblance between two human faces; and upon that account such an appearance raises some degree of wonder: but this emotion rises to a still greater height, when we find in a pebble, an agate, or other natural production, any resemblance to a tree or to any organised body. We cannot hesitate a moment, in applying these observations to the present subject: what occasion of wonder can it be to find one sound resembling another, where both are of the same kind?

But the pleasure swells greatly, when we employ sound to imitate Edition: ed; Page: [ 94 ] things it resembles not otherwise than by the effects produced in the mind. Translation is, in effect, a form of transfer; more specifically, it involves a movement from one context to another, be it national, social, political, historical, linguistic or religious. The texts examined here illustrate, each in their unique way, the relationship between contextual change and audience. For example, a text intending to entertain may also have educational outcomes; a book of local miracles may attract pilgrims and contribute to the economic life of a monastery; a text and its translations may at some point be appropriated for polemical purposes, while a library of translated texts founded on humanist principals may also serve political ends.

Furthermore, each successive adaptation and its accompanying annotations impacts upon the tonality of a text. While this diversity of meanings may inspire some such as the medieval poet Marie de France , it moreover raises a number of important and difficult questions for the modern translator. The period covered by the texts and their translations extends from antiquity to the present day. The literary and critical breadth of these papers, as well as the rigorous interrogation of the modern translation theory, illustrates the remarkable vitality and diversity of current scholarship in this field.

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