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ment, for illustration, for ornament, for sentiment, or any other purpose.”
The scientific instruction, which is now almost universally given as to the sources and development of our own language, makes it familiar knowledge that the Anglo-Saxon (which was the product of numerous kindred dialects brought here by Teutonic and Scandinavian warriors) is the primary element of our modern English tongue. The other chief element is generally called the Latin, though a very great part of it came to us not immediately from the Latin, but from the French and the Italian. Of these elements the Anglo-Saxon is not only the first in essential and etymological importance, but it is incomparably the best; and it will always predominate in a good style. Simple, short, yet full of meaning and power, the homely old English words go straight to the heart, and their rhythm is sweetest music to the ear. But it is absurd to deny the advantages which our large command of words drawn from other modern tongues, and from the classics, offers to the author, and still more to the speaker. The best rule is to use always AngloSaxon words, where they sufficiently express your meaning, and if the sentence made up from them is not likely to jar on the hearers as uncouth, or to give offence as affected and grotesque. If a word, or a number of words of Latin origin, will convey your ideas more readily, more precisely, and more fully-if by the introduction of such words an “ Invenusta repetitio" can be avoided—if by means of them you can gain the advantage of repeating an argument while your tautology is disguised—if you can even so improve the general melody of your sentences; why, use the Latin department of the language freely, and do not slight the bounteous variety which the affluence of modern English places at your disposal.
Closely connected with the subject of forming a style, in which Anglo-Saxon words are much more used than Latin, is the subject of general length of sentences. As a rule, you
will find that Anglo-Saxon words, when little mixed with others, arrange themselves naturally in shorter groups, than is the case when a great proportion of words of Latin origin are employed by the composer. And, as a rule, the shortsentence style is far more telling than is the style, which arrays itself continually or principally in lengthy and elaborate periods. When, as is often the case, a Latinized system of Syntax is super-imposed, things are made worse. It is, indeed, almost distressing to a hearer to have to listen to copious strings of accumulated, but inter-dependent propositions, exceptions, parentheses, illustrations, and contrasts, the purport of which is not disclosed till the very end of the bewildering coil. It is as bad as reading German prose. The only instance that I know of a great English orator conspicuous for the frequent length of his periods, is the younger Pitt. But, in his case, the embarrassing effect of the " long drawing out” of the linked phrases is mitigated by the speaker's felicitous choice of words, the perfect accuracy of his grammar, and the unexceptionable force of the dialectic. A style more dignified than usual suited the somewhat imperious position, which Pitt assumed and maintained throughout his Parliamentary career: and, even as to him, we feel when we study his speeches that he would have been more effective if more frequently laconic. But, unquestionably, brevity of sentences, like the preference of Anglo-Saxon words, may be pushed too far. The Rhetorician must speak so as to please, if he would speak so as to win. It was early observed by the ancient masters of the art that Rhetoric requires variety of style, and that the graceful and impressive speaker must be able not only to “pack thoughts closely and symmetrically,” but “ to bring them out roundly and harmoniously."*
* Such seems to me to be the full meaning of the celebrated phrase in which Dionysius Halicarnassensis describes the style of Lysias-'H ovotpédovoa tà vopata kùi otpoyyúlws eupépovoa dées. It is quoted, with comments, by Professor Jebb in his late admirable work on the Attic Orators.
I will next offer some remarks on the English authors, whom it is most beneficial to study earnestly and repeatedly for the sake of acquisition or improvement of style. I shall elsewhere advert to the extant speeches of orators of our own and other nations, which the student should use as models in all departments and for all purposes of Rhetoric. At present, I must deal chiefly with the topic of language; although it is impossible to disconnect that topic from the consideration of how far each author aids us in forensic training by reason of the nature of his thoughts, as well as by his manner of expressing them.
For manly, vigorous diction, our Elizabethan dramatists
Professor Jobb, in the same work (vol. i., p. 32), has some remarks which I gladly copy, on the introduction by the Attic Rhetoricians of the elaborate composition of " that moro artistio period, of which the several parts resemble the mutually supporting stones of a vaulted roof, and which leads the ear by a smooth curve to a happy finish,” (p. 35), instead of the more rough, running sentences of the first prose writers. He says, “It is perhaps impossible to find English terms, which shall givo all the clearness of the Greek contrast between περιοδική and έιρομένη λέξις: The “ running” style, ας ειρομένη expresses, is that in which the ideas are merely strung together, like beads, in the order in which they naturally present themselves to the mind. Its characteristic is simple continuity. The characteristio of the “periodio” style is that each sentence “comes round” upon itself so as to form & separate symmetrical whole. The running style may be represented by a straight line, which may be cut sbort at any point, or prolonged to any point: the periodic style is a system of independent circles. The period may be formed, either, so to say, in ono piece, or of several members (küla membra), as a hoop may be made either of a single lath bent round, or of segments fitted together. It was a maxim of the late Greek Rhetoric that, for the sake of simplicity and strength, a perioit should not consist of more than four of these members or segments; Roman rhetorio allowed a greater number. Aristotle says, “ that a Period must be of a size to be taken in at a glance."
This last citation is from Aristotle's “Rhetoric,” iii. 3. It is well to road on the subject of Periodic construction Mr. Cope's comments on Aristotle's “ Rhetoric," p. 306-316. He refers appropriately to our English writers, Harrie, “ Philosophical Inquiries,” Pt. 2, ch. 4, to the excellent observations on the Period in Campbell's “ Philosophy of Rhetoric," Book iii, c. 3, R. 3, and to Archbishop Wbately's Essay on Rhetoric in the “Encyclopædia Metro. politana,” ch. iii. p. 286, &c. See also the small separate edition of Whately's “Rhetoric," p, 205.
are unrivalled ;* and, though an orator does not want to declaim either rhymed or blank verse, there is very much affinity between Rhetoric and Poetry, especially Dramatic Poetry: inasmuch as the special functions of Dramatic Poetry are to embody and to animate the thoughts, the fancies, the feelings, and the passions of the heart in all varieties of human life.
* Many of the writere, whom we commonly speak of as “ Elizabethan," produced their best works during the reign of Elizabeth's successor ; and some did not publish anything prior to that time. But still it is accurate to speak of them as “ Elizabethan :" for they had been educated among the men, and with the feelings, of the three glorious decades that closed the sixteenth century. The mental and moral impulses, which were called into action during the life of the Great Queen, did not lose their force when she ceased to exist.
Several modern critics have discussed the causes which developed and influenced the literature of that marvellous epoch. No one, to my mind, has written on them better than Hazlitt, in his “ Lectures on the Elizabethan Dramatists," which were very popular thirty or forty years ago, but now seem to have dropped into unmerited neglect. Hazlitt gives as “the causes which moulded and stamped the poetry of the Elizabethan era : first, the recent Reformation. This event agitated the mass of accumulated prejudices throughout Europe. ... The war and clashing of opinions, loosened from their accustomed hold, might be heard like the noise of an angry sea, and has never yet subsided. .... Men's brains were busy, their spirits stirring, their hearts full, and their hands not idle. Their eyes were opened to expect the greatest things, and their ears burned with curiosity and zeal to know tho trnth, in order that the truth might make them free.” .
"The translation of the Bible was the chief engine in the great work. It threw open the rich treasures of religion and of morality. It revealed the visions of the Prophets, and conveyed the lessons of inspired teachers to the meanost of the people. It gave them a common interest in the common cause. Their hearts barned within them, as they read.
“ We perceive in the history of this period a nervous masculine intellect: no levity, no feebleness, no indifference. There is a gravity approaching to piety, & seriousness of impression, a conscientious severity of arzament, an habitual fervour and enthusiasm in their mode of handling almost every subject.” Hazlit then gives proofs of the influence exerted in the same age over Englishmen by the revived study of the classics, and by familiarity with the masterpieces of modern Italian literature. He adds, that “ of the time that we are considering, it might be said without much extravagance that every breath that blew, every wave that rolled to our shores, brought with it some accession to our knowledge, which was engrafted on the national genius.” To all this, we are to add the daring boldness and the activity then given to men's courage and imagination by the discoveries of the New World, and of its marvels; and, above all, the ennobling influence of England's successful resistance to the invasive tyranny of Spain. This told on our literature, as the successful resistance of Athens to the Persians told on the literature of the Periclean age.
One name stands out pre-eminent in our dramatic literature. It is superfluous to recommend the study of Shakespeare to a lawyer, for he must have Shakespeare (as the saying is) at his fingers' ends, unless he would disgrace himself by obvious inferiority to all, whom he meets in court and elsewhere, who have any pretensions to be called educated men. A quotation from Shakespeare never sounds pedantic to English ears, and it is always discreditable not to recognise it. But many quote him, who do not quote accurately, or appropriately; and you may gain an immense advantage over an adversary by detecting and exposing a blunder as to the wording of Shakespeare's lines, or as to the Dramatis Persona in whose mouth the words were placed. Often also you may retort with crushing effect by adding another speech from the same dialogue, in which Shakespeare makes another character of the play confute or ridicule the sentiment expressed in the passage just repeated by your opponent. Or you may point out that the passage, though fair-sounding in itself, is placed by Shakespeare in the mouth of a vile and villainous personage. Iago's eulogy on the worth of a good name supplies an instance of what I mean. But all these controversial advantages of a perfect knowledge of Shakespeare are small in comparison with the intellectual benefit of imbuing yourself, as far as possible, with the spirit of the greatest master and of the most vivid pourtrayer in all literature, ancient or modern, of the passions and feelings of the human heart in every region, in every time, in every mood, and every variety of circumstance, station, rank, and age.
The other Elizabethan dramatists are dwarfed by compari. son with Shakespeare, as the presence of Achilles dwarfs the other Homeric heroes of the Iliad. But they form a bright and glorious band, such as any nation might be proud of, even if she could not point to a few single stars of still superior magnitude. They well repay attentive study. But I am bound to remember that I am advising men who study