Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

" It is but opening the eye, and the scene enters."

Though this is lively and picturesque, yet we must remark a small inaccuracy. A scene cannot be said to enter ; an actor enters; but a scene appears or presents itself.

co 'The colours paint themselves on the fancy, with very little attention of thought or application of mind in the beholder."

This is beautiful and elegant, and well suited to those pleasures of the imagination of which the author is treating.

“We are struck, we know not how, with the symmetry of any thing we see; and immediately assent to the beauty of an object, without inquiring into the particular causes and occasions of it."

We assent to the truth of a proposition; but cannot with propriety be said to assent to the beauty of an object. In the conclusion, particular and occasions are superfluous words; and the pronoun it is in some measure ambiguous.

“ A man of a polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving."

The term polite is oftener applied to manners, than to the imagination. The use of that instead of which is too common with Mr. Addison. Except in cases, where it is necessary to avoid repetition, which is preferable to that, and is undoubtedly so in the present instance.

“ He can converse with a picture, and find an agreeable companion in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description; and often feels a greater satisfaction in the prospect of fields and meadows, than another does in the possession.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It gives him, indeed, a kind of property in every thing he sees; and makes the most rude uncul. tivated parts of nature administer to his pleasures: so that he looks upon the world, as it were, in another light, and discovers in it a muler titude of charms that conceal themselves from the generality of mankind." . This sentence is easy, flowing, and harmoni

We must, however, observe a slight inaca curacy. It gives him a kind of property-to this it there is no antecedent in the whole paragraph. To discover its connexion, we must look back to the third sentence preceding, which begins with a man of a polite imagination. This phrase, polite imagination, is the only antecedent to which it can refer; and even this is not a proper antecedent, since it stands in the genitive case as the qualification only of a man.

“ There are, indeed, but very few who know how to be idle and innocent, or have a relish of any pleasures that are not criminal; every diversion they take, is at the expense of some one virtue or another, and their very first step out of business is into vice or folly."

This sentence is truly elegant, musical and correct.

" A man should endeavour, therefore, to make the sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as possible, that he may retire into them with safety, and find in them such a satisfaction as a wise man would not blush to take.”

Tbis also is a good sentence and exposed to no objection.

« Öf this nature are those of the imagination, which do not require such a bent of thought as

is necessary to our more serious employments ; nor, at the same time, suffer the mind to sink into that indolence and remissness, which are apt to accompany our more sensual delights; but like a gentle exercise to the faculties, awaken them from sloth and idleness, without putting them upon any labour or difficulty.”

The beginning of this sentence is incorrect. Of this nature, says he, are those of the imagination. It might be asked, of what nature ? For the preceding sentence had not described the nature of any class of pleasures. He had said that it was every man's duty to make the sphere of his innocent pleasures as extensive, as possible, that within this sphere he might find a safe retreat and laudable satisfaction. The transition therefore is loosely made. It would have been better, if he had said, “ this advantage we gain,” or “this satisfaction we enjoy,” by means of the pleasures of the imagination. The rest of the sentence is correct.

“We might here add, that the pleasures of the fancy are more conducive to bealth than those of the understanding, which are worked out by dint of thinking, and attended with too violent a labour of the brain."

Worked out by dint of thinking is a phrase, which borders too nearly on the style of common conversation, to be admitted into polished composition.

“Delightful scenes, whether in nature, painting, or poetry, have a kindly influence on the body, as well as the mind, and not only serve to clear and brighten the imagination, but are able to disperse grief and melancholy, and to set the animal spirits in pleasing and agreeable motions. For

1

this reason Sir Francis Bacon, in his Essay upon Health, has not thought it improper to prescribe to bis reader a poem or a prospect, where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtile disquisitions, and advises him to pursue studies that till the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature."

In the latter of these two periods a member is out of its place. Where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtile disquisitions ought to precede has not thought it improper to prescribe,&c.

"I have in this paper, by way of introduction, settled the notion of those pleasures of the imagination, which are the subject of my present undertaking, and endeavoured by several con-. siderations to recommend to

my

readers the pursuit of those pleasures; I shall in my next paper examine the several sources from whence these pleasures are derived."

These two concluding sentences furnish examples of proper collocation of circumstances. We formerly showed that it is difficult so to dispose them, as not to embarrass the principal subject. Had the following incidental circumstances, by way of introductionby several considerations in this paperin the next paper, been placed in any other situation, the sentence would have been neither so neat, nor so clear, as it is on the present construction.

ELOQUENCE. ORIGIN OF ELOQUENCE. GRE

CIAN ELOQUENCE. DEMOSTHENES. ELOQUENCE is the art of persuasion. Its most essential requisites are solid argument, clear

method, and an appearance of sincerity in the speaker, with such graces of style and utterance, as command attention. Good sense must be its foundation. Without this, no man can be truly eloquent; since fools can persuade none, but fools. Before we can persuade a man of sense, we must convince him. Convincing and persuading, though sometimes confounded, are of very different import. Conviction affects the under. standing only; persuasion the will and the practice. It is the business of a philosopher to convince us of truth; it is that of an orator to persuade us to act conformably to it by engaging our affections in its favour. Conviction is, however, one avenue to the heart and it is that which an orator must first attempt to gain ; for no persuasion can be stable, which is not founded on conviction. But the orator must not be satisfied with convicting; he must address bimself to the passions; he must paint to the fancy, and touch the heart. Hence, beside solid argument and clear method, all the conciliating and interesting arts of composition and pronunciation enter into the idea of eloquence.

Eloquence may be considered, as consisting of three kinds or degrees. The first and lowest is that which aims only to please the hearers. Such in general is the eloquence of panegyrics, inaugural orations, addresses to great men, and other harangues of this kind. This ornamental sort of composition may innocently amuse and entertain the mind; and may be mixed at the same time with very useful sentiments. But it must be acknowledged, that where the speaker aims only to shine and to please, there is great danger of

« AnteriorContinuar »