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opposite capabilities as the English. Any ambiguity in another language may be directly expressed, or paralleled, in the English, and at the same time a thought may be so definitely enunciated that none but the willfully blind or perverse can mistake it. Thought can be condensed into a few short words, or spread out over an almost interminable surface. The sublimest emotion may be uttered, and the most delicate feeling find appropriate dress.

33. Onomatopy.Onomatopoeia, or Onomatopy, is the name given to the figure of speech in which the sound of the word indicates either an actual sound or a motion, as rub-a-dub-dub, for the sound of a drum, hiss, crash, quick, lazy.

Some believe that the first words spoken were all onomatopoetic, and that gradually, on that narrow foundation, the whole superstructure of language has been built up. If so, a natural instinct is gratified by onomatopoetic expressions, and by harmonious associations of words and thought. Thus, in the description of soft plaintive music, a succession of smooth sounds, easily uttered, would charm at once the sense and the judgment. A battle, or a storm at sea, or an earthquake, would require a different dress. Two passages from Milton's "Paradise Lost" have often been quoted to illustrate the adaptation of sound to sense. The first describes the opening of hell's gates:

"On a sudden open fly

With impetuous recoil, and jarring sound,
The infernal doors; and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder."


Heaven's doors swing open more smoothly, thus:

"Heaven opened wide
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound,
On golden hinges turning."

Motion also can be indicated by the sound of words. Pope excelled in this refinement.


"When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow."

Contrast this slow movement with the rapid one which follows:

"Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,

Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main."

That beautiful poem of Bryant, Thanatopsis, should be read aloud to exhibit its merits, not the least of which is the fitness of the sound to the soothing and triumphant hope which it expresses. Observe the music of the concluding lines, and its correspondence with the quiet close of a good life:

"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death;

Then go not like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach the grave,

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

34. Conclusion.-It is very easy to carry attention to the sound of sentences to an excess. In the heat of composition, oral or written, it is well to give but little thought to it, but in revision it should not be wholly neglected. In this way appropriate habits will be formed.



35. Definition. THE peculiar mode of expression usually employed by any person is called his style.

Styles differ as much as human countenances, so that though millions may exist at once, no two are precisely alike. Still they may be classified in a few general groups.

There are many different methods of expressing the same thought or feeling, each of which may be called a different style.

The most of authors have a style that is either natural or habitual to them, so that having read a few of their writings, you come to expect that whatever you read from them hereafter will bear a certain similarity to what you have read. Careful critics will often detect the production of a favorite author in a writing that does not bear his name. How peculiar, for instance, are the styles of Samuel Johnson, Addison, Bunyan, Dean Swift, Carlyle, Macaulay, Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, and Charles Dickens.

36. What produces Variety?-Peculiarities of style are the outgrowth of an author's nature, or the effect of his habits. If an author has no peculiar style, but seems to write equally well in so great a variety of



methods as to have no style of his own, he is likely to be weak in all his methods. "Non omnes omnia possumus"-"Every body can not do every thing." Each man should choose his weapons or his tools, and learn to work efficiently with them. Fortunate is he who chooses tools suited to his constitution and his genius. And yet it is well for a student to practice for a time many different styles.

37. Some Varieties in Style.-Some of the varieties of style are the following: The Saxon style, in which short words, mostly derived from the Anglo-Saxon or the mother-language, are principally employed. The Latin style, in which the long words mostly derived from the Latin language are abundant. Of course there may be an endless variety of styles on this matter alone. The abrupt style, made up entirely or principally of short sentences. The flowing style, made up of long sentences. The loose style, using only loose sentences when long ones are employed. The periodic style, abounding in periods. The dry style, which is destitute of figurative expressions, of wit, and of every thing to please the fancy or interest the mind, except the naked statement of facts and opinions. The florid style, abounding in tropes, metaphors, and other figures. There may be several subordinate styles under this head, as the tropical style, the metaphorical style, the allegorical style, the hyperbolical style, and many others. The idiomatic style, abounding in idioms, colloquialisms, and proverbial expressions. The scholastic style, in which the sentences are all artificially constructed with

great care, so as not to offend the severest grammatical rules, and in which the words are used with especial regard to their etymological meaning. The logical style, in which the author frequently argues, introducing syllogisms, or presents conclusions, preceded frequently by such words as "hence," " thence,” "therefore," and "wherefore." The witty style, of which there may be many classes. In some, puns, quirks, singular combinations of words or thoughts are sought.

Various applications of any of the particular principles illustrated in the preceding part of this book will cause varieties of style.

38. Variations in Style innumerable.-It is unnecessary to consider all the possible styles, and every intelligent student perceives that they are innumerable and indescribable. The only practical questions worthy of consideration are: Must every style, to be commendable, embrace certain qualities? If so, what are they? What faults should be avoided? What is the best method to obtain a good style?

39. No one Style can be pronounced best. It would be a serious fault in a Rhetoric to recommend any particular style as essentially the best. No teacher does so much harm, in Rhetoric or Elocution, as one who induces all his pupils to strive to adopt one particular fashion of writing or speaking. Trees may be trimmed into the same shape, but they will not remain so unless they are dead. No two leading minds in the world ever had the same method of expressing or enforcing thought.

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