« PreviousContinue »
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and forever were still.
And there lay the steed, with his nostrils all wide, But through them there rolled not the breath of his pride, And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, And cold as the spray of the rock-beaten surf.
And there lay the rider, distorted and pale,
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
2. The middle style is acquired, first, by conceiving ideas not altogether familiar or common; second, by using figures of speech not too strong; third, by using flowery diction; fourth, by reading good authors.
1.-EXERCISE. Point out in the above examples, first, the ideas and words which are neither too high, nor too low ; second, the figures of speech and flow
II.-EXERCISE. Find an example of the middle style in your Rhetorical Reader, and show likewise how the ideas and words are neither too lofty, nor too familiar.
III.—EXERCISE. Find an example in which the rules of middle style have been violated, and point them out.
IV.-EXERCISE. THEME.—“ For nearly a century, American progress of civilization has kept pace with the extension of its territory."
In amplifying this sentence, use the middle style.
V.-EXERCISE. Read your composition, and prove your style by the rules.
RULES FOR THE PROPER SELECTION OF STYLE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SUBJECT OF COMPOSITION.
1. In treating of each subject of composition, we shall indicate the peculiar style adapted to it. Here it may suffice to establish two general rules, concerning the choice of style in composition.
2. RULE I.—“The style must conform to the
(1.) Are there any general rules for the selection of style in
composition ? (2.) Name the first rule ?
nature of the subject of composition.” Thus, if the subject be elevated, or familiar, or intermediate, the style must be of the same kind.
3. RULE II.—" The style must suit the object of the writer or speaker.” Thus, if the object in writing or speaking be to inform or instruct, the style must be simple ; if the object be to please, the style must be flowery or adorned ; if the object be to persuade and move the mind, the style must be sublime.
4. It follows from these rules, that before a person begins to write or speak on a subject, it is necessary that he should carefully ascertain what kind of style is best adapted to the subject and object of his composition, and not act like one who makes a selection of a garment in a clothing emporium, before considering whether it will suit, or not, the person for whom it is intended.
5. It happens, very frequently, that a change of subject and object occurs in the same composition. In this case, as the subject and object is various and mixed, so is also the style, which is therefore named the mixed style.
(3.) Give the second rule ? (4.) What must a person do, before writing or speaking on a
subject? (5.) When is the style called mixed ?
GENERAL RULES FOR THE ACQUISITION OF GOOD
1. Besides the rules laid down before, for each style in particular, some general precepts may here be added. They are
First. Ideas and words of sentences must be true, and clear; because it is impossible that the style be good when sentences are false, and therefore cannot be demonstrated; or when their truth is involved in darkness.
2. Second. The structure of sentences and periods must conform to the rules expounded in the Elements of Composition, namely: their constituent parts must be well connected, and properly arranged.
3. Third. Every word must convey the exact meaning of the writer or speaker; which is most necessary, in order not to lead the reader, or hearer into error.
4. Fourth. The language must always be terse and grammatical, even if the subject of composition be a familiar one.
(1.) Have we any general rules for the acquisition of good
Which is the first rule? (2.) What is the second rule? (3.) What is the third ? (4.) What is the fourth ?
5. Fifth. Finally, good style is acquired by a constant reading and study of classic authors.
OF THE VICIOUS STYLE.
1. GENERAL RULE.—The style is vicious
First. When it does not suit the subject, or object of the writer or speaker.
Second. When the ideas and words disagree in style; as, if sublime ideas be expressed by common words, or vice versa.
Third. When the above-given rules for each kind of style are not properly observed.
2. Four classes of vicious style must be particularly avoided :
First. The tumid or inflated, which consists of pompous sentiments and words,
Second. The frigid or puerile, which indulges in insipid witticisms.
(5.) What is the fifth ? (1.) When is the style vicious ? Give a general rule. (2.) What classes of vicious style must be chiefly avoided ?