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reasoning itself the force and vivacity of painting, follow the method first prescribed, and that even when you represent the energy of spiritual causes, which were never subjected to the scrutiny of sense. You will thus convert a piece of abstruse reflection, which, however just, makes but a slender impression upon the mind, into the most affecting and instructive imagery.
Ir is in this manner the psalmist treats that most sublime, and at the same time most abstract of all subjects, the providence of God. With what success he treats it, every person of taste and sensibility will judge. After a few strictures on the life of man, and of the inferior animals, to whatever element, air, or earth, or water, they belong, he thus breaks forth: "These "wait all upon thee, that thou mayest give them their "meat in due season. Thou givest them. They ga"ther. Thou openest thy hand. They are filled "with good. Thou hidest thy face. They are “troubled. Thou takest away their breath. They "die and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth
thy Spirit. They are created. Thou renewest the "face of the earth *." It must be acknowledged, that it is not every subject, no, nor every kind of composition, that requires, or even admits the use of such glowing colours. The psalm is of the nature of the ode, being, properly defined, a sacred ode; and it is allowed, that this species of poesy demands more fire than any other.
*Psalms, civ. 27, 28, 29, 30.
Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the words.
Ir may indeed be thought, that the vivacity resulting from this manner of composing is sufficiently accounted for, from the brevity which it occasions, and of which I have had access formerly to treat. It is an undoubted truth, that the brevity here contributes to the force of the expression, but it is not solely to this principle that the effect is to be ascribed. A good taste will discern a difference in a passage already quoted from the song of Moses, as it stands in our version, and as it is literally rendered from the Hebrew * ; though in both, the number of words, and even of syllables, is the same. Observe also, the expression of the psalmist, who, having compared man, in respect of duration, to a flower, says concerning the latter, "The wind passeth over it, and it is gone f." Had he said, “The wind passing over it, destroys it," he had expressed the same sentiment in fewer words, but more weakly.
BUT it may be objected, If such is the power of the figure asyndeton, and if the conjunctive particles are naturally the weakest parts in a sentence, whence comes it that the figure polysyndeton, the reverse of the former, should be productive of that energy which rhetoricians ascribe to it? I answer, the cases must be very different which require such opposite methods. Celerity of operation, and fervour in narration, are best expressed by the first. A deliberate attention to
* Exod. xv.
+ Psal. ciii. 16.
every circumstance, as being of importance, and to this in particular the multiplicity of the circumstances, is best awakened by the second. The conjunctions and relatives excluded by the asyndeton, are such as connect clauses and members; those repeated by the polysyndeton, are such as connect single words only, All connectives alike are set aside by the former; the latter is confined to copulatives and disjunctives. A few examples of this will illustrate the difference. "While the earth remaineth," said God immediately after the deluge, "seed-time and harvest, and cold " and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, "shall not cease t." Every thing to which a permanency of so great importance is secured, requires the most deliberate attention. And, in the following declaration of the apostle, much additional weight and distinctness are given to each particular, by the repetition of the conjunction. "I am persuaded, that nei❝ther death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, "nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, "nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall "be able to separate us from the love of God *."
Gen. viii. 22.
SECT. III....Complex Sentences.
PART I....Subdivision of these into periods and loose sentences.
I COME now to the consideration of complex sentenThese are of two kinds. They are either peri
Rom. viii. 38, 39,
Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the words.
ods, or sentences of a looser composition, for which the language doth not furnish us with a particular name. A period is a complex sentence, wherein the meaning remains suspended till the whole is finished. The connection consequently is so close between the beginning and the end as to give rise to the name period, which signifies circuit. The following is such a sentence: Corruption could not spread with so much success, "though reduced into system, and though some mini"sters, with equal impudence and folly, avowed it by “themselves and their advocates, to be the principal "expedient by which they governed; if a long and "almost unobserved progression of causes and effects "did not prepare the conjuncture +." The criterion of a period is this: If you stop any where before the end, the preceding words will not form a sentence, and therefore cannot convey any determined sense. This is plainly the case with the above example. The first verb being could and not can, the potential and not the indicative mood, shews that the sentence is hypothetical, and requires to its completion some clause beginning with if, unless, or some other conditional particle. And after you are come to the conjunction, you find no part where you can stop before the end ‡.
Bolingb. Spirit of Patriotism.
It is surprising that most modern critics seem to have mistaken totally the import of the word period, confounding it with the complex sentence in general, and sometimes even with the simple but circumstantiated sentence. Though none of the ancients, as far as I remember, either Greek or Latin, have treated this matter with
From this account of the nature of a period, we may justly infer, that it was much easier in Greek and La
sentence. νειάς Ι. ΙΑ.
all the precision that might be wished, yet it appears to me evident, from the expressions they employ, the similitudes they use, and the examples they produce, that the distinction given above perfectly coincides with their notions on this subject, But nothing seems more decisive than the instance which Demetrius Phalereus has given of a period from Demosthenes, and which, for the sake of illustrating the difference, he has also thrown into the form of a loose I refer the learned reader to the book itself: Пsgı igunThe ancients did indeed sometimes apply the word Period to simple but circumstantiated sentences of a certain structure. I shall give the following example in our own language, for an illustration: "At last, after much fatigue, through deep roads and "bad weather, we came with no small difficulty to our journey's "end." Otherwise thus, "We came to our journey's end at last, "with no small difficulty, after much fatigue, through deep roads, "and bad weather." The latter is in the loose, the former in the periodic composition. Accordingly, in the latter, there are, before the conclusion, no less than five words, which I have distinguished by the character, namely, end, last, difficulty, fatigue, roads, with any of which the sentence might have terminated. One would not have expected that a writer so accurate and knowing as M. du Marsais, should have so far mistaken the meaning of the word period in the usage of the ancients, as to define it in this manner: 'periode est un assemblage des propositions liées entr' elles par des 'conjonctions, et qui toutes ensemble font un sens fini.' "The pe"riod is an assemblage of propositions connected by conjunctions, " and making altogether one complete sense." (Principes de Grammaire, La Periode.) This is a proper definition of a complex sentence; and that he meant no more is manifest from all his subsequent illustrations. Take the following for an example, which he gives in another place of the same work: 'Il y a un avantage réal