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HAVING established these conclusions, let the virtue of style be defined, and declared to consist Perspicui- in perspicuity. This constitutes its nature and priety of perfection; for a style, not fitted clearly to style. convey our meaning, does not perform its proper work. Next to this, style ought neither to be humble and lowly, nor swelling and elevated; its excellence consists in being fitly adapted to the subject: a poetical diction may raise a discourse above meanness, but cannot fail to transport it to the contrary extreme, equally distant from propriety.



Perspicuity will be attained by using nouns and verbs in their ordinary and appropriate sense words of a different kind, as explained in our treatise on poetry, serve only for ornament. They embellish style, and render it more admirable; for men are affected by bold verbal distinctions, as they are by the differences between citizens and strangers. With common language, they are familiar as with their fellowcitizens; but a style, new and unusual, creates a sort of pleasing wonder, and is treated with the respect which strangers naturally inspire. In some kinds of poetry, such style is proper; the dignity of the subject requires it not so in prose; and even in poetry itself, the diction should rise and fall with the subject; it would be ridiculous to treat light and ordinary matters with magnificence of words, or to represent boys

3 Kuρia are words ordinary and appropriate, in opposition to γλωττά and πεποιημενα, foreign and new coined words: οικεια are proper words, in opposition to metaphors.


or slaves speaking in the language of heroes. CHAP. In prose, also, a writer will vary his style with his matter; and, according to the end in view, will sometimes abridge, and sometimes expatiate. But care must be taken to do this naturally; for if marked with the smallest signs of artifice or design, his discourse will lose all power of persuasion. It will share the fate of other painted beauties; men will be on their guard against the cheat; and reject it, as they do those mixed wines, which injure the health, to please the palate. But just and natural expression will be as affecting as the actor Theodorus other players appear only to sustain their parts, but he identifies himself with his characters, and always is the very person whom he exhibits. Of this proper and natural style, Euripides was the first good model: he does not attain beauty and dignity by a new or uncommon phraseology, but by selecting from the words and phrases in general use, those that are most affecting and most graceful; thus concealing his art, and elevating his style above the common standard, without any apparent design to do so.

How these


cies to be

To assist in this judicious choice, it may be observed, that language consists wholly of nouns and verbs; and that of these, all the different attained. kinds have been enumerated and defined in our

4 Theodorus, the same spoken of in the seventh book of the Politics.

• Aristotle is not constant, though inclined to this opinion, which grammarians and philologers have now pretty generally approved.


fied in Euripides.


BOOK treatise on poetry. Of these kinds, the foreign and far-fetched, the compound, the new-coined, are too violent a departure from ordinary speech to be proper in oratory; there are, however, fit occasions for using them, and what these are, will afterwards be explained. The ordinary appropriate term, the plain and primitive one', and natural well-chosen metaphors, then, are the words which afford at once clearness and

• Under "Transports of passion,” as explained in chapter vii.
7 That is the κύριον and οικειον, as above explained.

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8 To these three, late writers have added a fourth kind. Mr. Knight says," Epithets employed to distinguish qualities perceivable only by intellect, were originally applied to objects of sense; for as such objects are the primary subjects of thought and observation, the primary words in all languages belong to them, and are therefore applied transitively, though not always figuratively, to objects of intellect." Knight's Inquiry into Taste, p. 11. This distinction appears to Mr. Stewart equally important and just. He subjoins, French author of the highest rank (M. D'Alembert) had plainly the same distinction in his view, when he observed, that beside the appropriate and the figurative meanings of a word, there is another, somewhat intermediate between them, which may be called their meaning by extension. In the choice of this expression he has been less fortunate than Mr. Knight." Stewart's Essays. Essay i. c. 1. p. 219. This distinction, however, first made by M. D'Alembert, better expressed by Mr. Knight, and adopted by Mr. Stewart as an important logical discovery, is recognised in the first sentence of Aristotle's Categories. "Those things are homonymous of which the name is the same, but the definition different:" for the ingenious modern writers do not explain, any more than did the Greek philosopher, the nature and causes of this transition. D'Alembert's “meaning by extension," indeed, is nothing more but Aristotle's “meaning by accession," Kaтa σvμéééŋños, a phrase, as I have shown, universally mistaken by his commenters. "There can be no science," he "of infinites, nor of things coming by accession, since things innumerable may accede to the same thing." See my New Analysis, p. 72. Third Edit. The knowledge of this general truth might have saved much trouble to modern metaphysicians. All metaphors are transitive words; but all transitive words are not metaphors.



beauty; and by which style may be embellished, CHAP. without any invidious ostentation. Of these three kinds of words, all continually make use, and in the judicious selection of them, the perfection of diction consists. Equivocal words are useful to sophists, and to those who reason to deceive; and to poets synonymes are necessary, for synonymes are words used indifferently to express the same sense: thus, "to travel" and "to march," may be equally applied to men passing through a country. Both words are familiarly used, and both used to denote the same thing.10 The nature of these different kinds of words, as well as that of metaphors, has been explained in our treatise on poetry; in this we, also, defined the different sorts of metaphors, and showed what vast advantages the right use of them affords, both in poetry and in prose. the latter, indeed, they ought to be a subject of more studious attention, because prose is debarred from many other ornaments and allurements; and to metaphors, chiefly, must, therefore, be indebted for its vivacity ", its beauty, and its dignity.12 To these, also, style owes its originality; for they admit not of perpetual transmission, but must be, in some sort, our own invention.13


9 Versification requires words of different lengths, or more or fewer syllables.

1o This is the sense of αμφοτερα και κυρια και συνωνυμα, according to the meaning of κʊρıα, explained above.

11 To σapes, here means something more than perspicuity.

12 To έevikov, as above explained.

Is Metaphors transmitted from one age to another, and from one

The use and abuse

and metaphors.

Epithets and metaphors must be skilfully fitted to the subject to which they are applied, and to the notion which they are employed to express. of epithets This nice adaptation arises from analogy or proportion, and when this proportion does not hold, the metaphor will be ungraceful, since things not suiting each other, the more nearly they are approximated, will offend the more by their incongruity. The fitness of things is the only genuine source of taste and intellectual pleasure. A scarlet robe may become the vivacity and gaiety of youth; but a graver colour will please more in men of graver years. By metaphors any subject may be exalted or depressed; when we would exalt or magnify it, the most respectable term must be employed; when we would lessen or debase it, the most contemptible. Thus, to beg, and to pray, are two different kinds of asking to ask is the genus, under which the species, "begging or praying," are ranged. He, therefore, who begs, may be described as a petitioner; and a simple petitioner may be vilified into a beggar. In this way Iphicrates insulted Callias, by calling him the wallet-bearer of the goddess, instead of her torch-bearer. Both were offices in the worship of Cybelé, but the one mean and beggarly, as much as the other was respectable. Callias, indeed, retorted the reproach, by saying, that Iphicrates, by this misapplication of names, well showed his igno


writer to another, gradually lose their novelty and lustre; and are thus deprived of their proper character and specific effect.

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