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WORD-PAINTING.

proved by Speech.-So essential is speech to the thorough culture of the mind that it may be doubted whether natural language itself is not rendered by it more efficient than it possibly could have been without the cultivation secured by the use of words. The paintings and hieroglyphics of savages are indeed superior to the best pictorial illustrations that could have been produced by human beings wholly destitute of language; but how far short do the pictures made by savages fall of the paintings of a Raphael, or the illustrations that accompany modern scientific works!

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7. Word-painting.Word-painting, or the representation by language of what may be seen by the eye, often produces a more definite and complete picture of the object than can be presented by sculpture or on the canvas, because, in addition to describing the mere superficial appearance, some words are used which suggest the feelings and thoughts both of the objects described, if they have any, and of the observer. Take, for instance, the following description of a dying gladiator, as described by Byron in Childe Harold, canto iv. stanza 140:

"I see before me the gladiator lie:

He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his drooped head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now
The arena swims around him he is gone,

Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who

won."

This beautiful description of a statue conveys more thought than the best executed specimen of soulpture, or even the actual facts presented to our senses, unless our own minds were capable of originating the reflections suggested to us by the writer.

8. Comparative Power of Language and the imitative Arts in Description.—An unprofitable controversy has arisen upon the question whether language, or painting and sculpture, which are called the "imitative arts," can afford the most thorough and vivid description of an object. James Barry, in a lecture on painting, delivered before the British Royal Academy, says: "The Medicean Venus, the Farnese Hercules, and the Fighting Gladiator also, what is there in poetry (descriptive) that could supply the loss of them?” He adds: "Words, after all, are but words. They are but symbols formed for the eye out of twenty-four arbitrary scratches, called letters, and certain vibrations of the air occasioning certain irritations in our organ of hearing, which by national compacts are made to suggest the idea of existing things, with their several modes and degrees of relation; and though the communication of all this matter of compact is more or less perfect, according to the degrees of our education in it, yet how very imperfect it is, even at the best, will soon appear, on attempting to describe in mere words any individual complex forms, as the portrait or likeness of any man's face, and numberless other matters which need not be mentioned. However, what language wants in precision, is abundantly compensated in the facility and extent of what it does commu

NECESSITY OF THOUGHT.

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nicate in the whole range of characters, manners, passions, sentiments, and intercourse of society."* 1

No naked description, by words, of a thing seen, can equal in vividness a correct picture, but it may contain much more information than can possibly be received directly through the sense of sight.

9. Relation of Language to Mental Culture.-Words have many shades and degrees of signification, varying with the mental cultivation of those who employ and hear them. A well-stored mind means more by the same terms than an ignorant one, and receives more meaning from the words of others. The best authors can not be appreciated except by persons equally learned, for the words are clothed with associations, allusions, and suggestions that are wholly invisible to the uneducated. A production, written or spoken, that conveys abundant valuable thought, generally evinces thorough culture.

Many animals can be taught at least a small part of the signification of several words when addressed to them. Some animals can be taught to articulate, but never to use language as a vehicle of thought.

A student may become thoroughly acquainted with the art of elocution, and yet be an inefficient speaker, for the want of knowledge and mental discipline; good elocutionists, so called, are often inefficient original orators, because they have feeble or uncultivated minds, or scanty information, or little genuine feeling; while writers that violate the fundamental principles

* Lectures on Painting, by the Royal Academicians, Barry, Opie, and Fuseli (London, p. 115).

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of Rhetoric will be read, and speakers that transgress elocution and even grammar will be listened to, simply from their abundance of thought and power. One acquainted with the rules of Rhetoric may be incompetent to write a valuable essay, or even a good letter to a friend, for the want of mental ability. Rhetoric can not supply the place of intellect and heart, but only shows how to use both most efficiently. An able speaker or writer needs thought, emotion, and language.

ACQUISITION OF WORDS.

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CHAPTER III.

HOW TO ACQUIRE THE KNOWLEDGE OF WORDS.

10. Language learned in Childhood.-THE first requisite of Rhetoric is to acquire a knowledge of words. This knowledge is obtained, to a great extent, in our childhood from our parents and early companions. We hear words pronounced, we mark their significance, we imprint them upon our minds; they thus become vehicles of thought for our own use. Who may have uttered those words first is of no practical consequence to us. Some of them may have been used by the Romans two thousand years ago, and therefore be said to be derived from the Latin; others may have been used by the Greeks; others by the Normans; others by the modern French; others may have been always used from the creation of man till now; but whoever used them before us, they are now words of our language, and we learn their significance and power by hearing them pronounced.

11. Language acquired by hearing and reading.-By the sense of hearing alone it is possible to acquire an extensive and choice vocabulary, and to become ready and expert in the use of language. There have been many eloquent speakers who have thus acquired all their knowledge of language. In past ages, and among

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