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Of vivacity as depending on the arrangementof the words.

they are for the most part separated only by commas or by semicolons, rarely by colons, and almost never by points. In this way the passages above quoted from the song of Moses and the Psalms, are pointed in all our English Bibles.,


But there is an intermediate sort of sentences which must not be altogether overlooked, though they are neither entirely loose, nor perfect periods. Of this sort is the following : “ The other institution,” he is speaking of the eucharist, “ has been so disguis

ed by ornament, || and so much directed in your “ church at least, to a different purpose from comme" moration, that if the disciples were to assemble “ at Easter in the chapel of his Holiness, Peter

would know his successor as little, || as Christ

would acknowledge his vicar ; and the rest “ would be unable to guess || what the ceremony represented || or intended *.” This sentence may be distributed into four members. The first is complex, including two clauses, and ends at commemoration. The second is simple, ending at Holiness. It is evident that the sentence could not terminate at either of these places, or at any of the intermediate words. The third member is subdivided into two clauses, and ends at vicar. It is equally evident, that if the sentence had been concluded here, there would have been no defect in the construction. The fourth mem

* Bol. Phil. Es. iv. Sect. 7.

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ber, which concludes the sentence, is also compound, and admits a subdivision into three clauses. At the word represented, which finishes the second clause, the sentence might have terminated. The two words which could have admitted a full stop after them, are distinguished by italics. Care hath also been taken to discriminate the members and the clauses. It may, however, justly be affirmed, that when the additional clause or clauses are, as in the preceding example, intimately connected with the foregoing words, the sentence may still be considered as a period, since it hath much the same effect. Perhaps some of the examples of periods to be produced in the sequel, if examined very critically, would fall under this denomination. But that is of little or no consequence.

On comparing the two kinds of complex sentences together, to wit, the period and the loose sentence, we find that each hath its advantages and disadvantages. The former savours more of artifice and design, the latter seems more the result of pure Nature. The period is nevertheless more susceptible of vivacity and force; the loose sentence is apt, as it were, to languish, and grow tiresome. The first is more adapted to the style of the writer, the second to that of the speaker. But as that style is best, whether written or spoken, which hath a proper mixture of both; so there are some things in every species of discourse, which require a looser, and some which require a preciser manner. In general, the use of pe

Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the words.

riods best suits the dignity of the historian, the political writer, and the philosopher. The other manner more befits the facility which ought to predominate in essays, dialogues, familiar letters, and moral tales. These approach nearer the style of conversation, into which periods can very rarely find admittance. In some kinds of discourses intended to be pronounced, but not delivered to the public in writing, they may properly find a place in the exordium and narration, for thus far some allowance is made for preparation; but are not so seasonable, unless very short, in the argumentative part, and the pathetic.

PART II.... Observations on periods, and on the use of antithesis

in the composition of sentences.

I now proceed to offer some observations on the

period. It hath been affirmed to have more energy than a sentence loosely composed. The reason is this. The strength which is diffused through the latter, is in the former collected, as it were, into a single point. You defer the blow a little, but it is solely that you may bring it down with greater weight. But in order to avoid obscurity, as well as the display of art, rhetoricians have generally prescribed that a period should not consist of more than four members. For my own part, as members of sentences differ exceedingly both in length and in structure from one another, I do not see how any general rule can be established, to ascertain their number. A period con

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sisting of bút two members, nay easily be found, that is at once longer, more artificial and more obscure, than another consisting of five. The only rule which will never fail, is to beware both of prolixity and of intricacy, and the only competent judges in the case are, good sense and a good ear:

A GREAT deal hath been said both by ancient critics and by modern, on the formation and turn of periods. But their remarks are chiefly calculated with a view to harmony. In order to prevent the necessity of repeating afterwards, I shall take no notice of these remarks at present, though the rules founded on them do also in a certain degree contribute both to perspicuity and to strength.

That kind of period which hath most vivacity, is commonly that wherein you find an antithesis in the members, the several parts of one having a similarity to those of the other, adapted to some resemblance in the sense. The effect produced by the corresponding members in such a sentence, is like that produced in a picture where the figures of the groupe are not all on a side, with their faces turned the same way, but are made to contrast each other by their several positions. Besides, this kind of periods is generally the most perspicuous. There is in them not only that original light, which results from the expression when suitable, but there is also that which is reflected reciprocally from the opposed members. The relation

Of vivacity as depending on the arrsngement of the words.

between these is so strongly marked, that it is next to impossible to lose sight of it. The same quality makes them also easier for the memory.

Yet to counterbalance these advantages, this sort of period often appears more artful and studied than any other. I say often, because nothing can be more evident, than that this is not always the case. Some antitheses seem to arise so naturally out of the subject, that it is scarcely possible in another to express the sentiment. Accordingly we discover them even in the scriptures, the style of which is perhaps the most artless, the most natural, the most unaffected, that is to be found in any composition now extant.

may be

But I shall satisfy myself with producing a few specimens of this figure, mostly taken from the noble author lately quoted, who is commonly very successful in applying it. “ If Cato," says he, “ censured, severely indeed but justly, || for abandon

ing the cause of liberty, || which he would not how“ ever survive ; what shall we say of those, || “ who embrace it faintly, | pursue it irresolutely,

grow tired of it, || when they have much to hope, and give it up, || when they have no

thing to fear * ?" In this period there is a double antithesis, the two clauses which follow the pronoun those are contrasted, so are also the two members (each

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* On the spirit of Patriotism.

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