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Sect. II.

The offences against brevity considered....Part III. Verbosity.

"He opened his mouth and said." For my own part, I should not approve the delicacy of a translator, who, to modernize the style of the Bible, should repudiate every such redundant circumstance. It is true, that in strictness they are not necessary to the narration, but they are of some importance to the composition, as bearing the venerable signature of ancient simplicity. And in a faithful translation, there ought to be not only a just transmission of the writer's sense, but, as far as is consistent with perspicuity and the idiom of the tongue into which the version is made, the character of the style ought to be preserved.

So much for the vivacity produced by conciseness, and those blemishes in style which stand in opposition to it, tautology, pleonasm, and verbosity.

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Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the


SECT. I....Of the nature of arrangement, and the principal division of sentences.

HAVING already shown how far vivacity depends either on the words themselves, or on their number, I come now lastly to consider how it is affected by their arrangement.

THIS, it must be owned, hath a very considerable influence in all languages, and yet there is not any thing which is more difficult to regulate by general laws. The placing of the words in a sentence, resembles in some degree the disposition of the figures in a history-piece. As the principal figure ought to have that situation in the picture which will at the first glance fix the eye of the spectator, so the emphatical word ought to have that place in the sentence which will give it the greatest advantage for fixing the attention of the hearer. But in painting there can rarely.arise a doubt concerning either the principal figure, or the principal place, whereas here it is otherwise. In many sentences it may be a question, both what is the word on which the emphasis ought to rest, and

Sect. I. Of the nature of arrangement, and the principal division of sentences.

what is the situation which (to use the language of painters) will give the highest relief. In most cases, both of simple narration and of reasoning, it is not of great consequence to determine either point: in many cases it is impossible. Besides, in English, and other modern languages, the speaker doth not enjoy that boundless latitude, which an orator of Athens or of Rome enjoyed, when haranguing in the language of his country. With us, who admit very few inflections, the construction, and consequently the sense, depends almost entirely on the order. With the Greeks and the Romans, who abound in inflections, the sense often remains unalterable, in whatever order you arrange the words.

Bur, notwithstanding the disadvantage which in this respect we Britons labour under, our language even here allows as much liberty as will, if we know how to use it, be of great service for invigorating the expression. It is true indeed, that when neither the imagination nor the passions of the hearer are addressed, it is hazardous in the speaker to depart from the practice which generally obtains in the arrangement of the words; and that even though the sense should not be in the least affected by the transposition. The temperament of our language is phlegmatic, like that of our climate. When, therefore, neither the liveliness of representation, nor the warmth of passion, serve, as it were, to cover the trespass, it is not safe to leave the beaten track. Whatever is suppos

Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the words.

ed to be written or spoken in a cool, temperate mood, must rigidly adhere to the established order, which with us, as I observed, allows but little freedom. What is said will otherwise inevitably be exposed to the censure of quaintness and affectation, than which, perhaps, no censure can do greater prejudice to an orator. But as it is indubitable, that in many cases both composition and arrangement may, without incurring this reproach, be rendered greatly subservient to vivacity, I shall make a few observations on these, which I purpose to illustrate with proper examples.

COMPOSITION and arrangement in sentences, though nearly connected, and therefore properly in this place considered together, are not entirely the same. Composition includes arrangement, and something more. When two sentences differ only in arrangement, the sense, the words, and the construction are the same; when they differ also in other articles of composition, there must be some difference in the words themselves, or at least in the manner of construing them. But I shall have occasion to illustrate this distinction in the examples to be afterwards produced.

SENTENCES are either simple or complex; simple, consisting of one member only; as this, " In the be"ginning, God created the heaven and the earth * ;” complex, consisting of two or members linked toge

* Gen. i. I.

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Sect. I. Of the nature of arrangement, and the principal division of sentences.

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ther by conjunctions; as this, "Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and "Israel acknowledge us not *." In the composition of the former, we have only to consider the distribution of the words; in that of the latter, regard must also be had to the arrangement of the members. The members too are sometimes complex, and admit a subdivision into clauses, as in the following example, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his mas"ter's crib ;-but Israel doth not know, my people "doth not consider f." This decompound sentence hath two members, each of which is subdivided into two clauses. When a member of a complex sentence is simple, having but one verb, it is also called a clause. Of such a sentence as this, “I have called, but

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ye refused " we should say indifferently, that it consists of two members, or of two clauses §. The members or the clauses are not always perfectly sepa rate, the one succeeding the other; one of them is sometimes very aptly enclosed by the other, as in the subsequent instance: "When Christ (who is our life) "shall appear;—then shall ye also appear with him "in glory ||." This sentence consists of two members, the former of which is divided into two clauses; one of these clauses, "who is our life," being as it

+ Ibid. i. 3.

+ Prov. i. 24.

* Isaiah lxiii. 16. § The words member and clause in English, are used as corresponding to the Greek who and xoux, and to to Latin membrum and incisum.

|| Col. iii. 4.

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