Page images


CV. Character of Climax and Anti-Climax....

.Adapted. 256

Quintilian: Cicero: Demosthenes: Shakspeare


CVI. Additional Examples of Climax..


I. Our Country (WEBSTER); II. The Thunder-storm (Tuomson).


CXLVII. Epigrammatic Selections.


I. The Three Initials; II. An Anagram ; III. Johnson's Style ;

IV. Lord Brougham; V. Blue Ink; VI. Masculine and Femi-

nine; VII. Westminster Bridge; VIII. A sublime Pun.

CXLVIII. Moral and Religious.....


I. God's Love to us (GRIFFIN); II. He lives long who lives well

(RANDOLPH); III. Now and Then; IV. Conscience (JUVENAL);
V. Consolations of the Gospel (ALEXANDER); VI. The Chris-

tian's Death (DEWEY).

CXLIX. Nothing at all in the Paper To-day


CL. Which shall it be?.


CLI. The Bridge of Sighs...

.Hoop, 359

CLII. The Spacious Firmament.

A. MARVEL. 360

CLIII. Time: an Allegory


CLIV. Descriptive and Didactic


I. Pestilence and Contagion personified; II. Different Conditions

in Life; III. Security of the Poor ; IV. A Contrast; V. Detraction
(CREECH); VI. The Truly Great (Watts); VII. Address to the

Deity (BOWRING); VIII. Woodland Music (J. S. TROWBRIDGE).

CLV, Youth and Age.....


CLVI. Patriotism: Love of Country and of Home ..


I. The Ship of State (HENRY W. LONGFELLOW); II. Our Country

(GRIMKE); III. Love of Country (W. Scott); IV. Love of Coun-

try and of Home (MONTGOMERY); V. Our Countrij ! 'tis a glori-

ous Land (W.J. PABODIE); VI. Union and Liberty (GRIMKE);

VII. The German's Fatherland (ARNDT).


As the Higher Qualities of Style, embraced in the principles of what is called Figurative Language, are fully explained and largely illustrated throughout the present work, we shall wholly omit that subject here, and commence with a brief exposition of those Minor Qualities of Style by which individual writers and speakers are more or less distinguished.

I. MINOR QUALITIES OF STYLE. The style of a writer or speaker may be bold, nervous, stiff, abrupt, weak or feeble, simple, affected, pure or chaste, florid, concise, diffuse, or bombastic, etc.

A Bold style is one in which both the thought and the manner are bold and startling, and in which the principles advanced are carried out to their legitimate results.

A Nervous or forcible style is one that is characterized by vigor and energy of manner and thought-a style that makes a deep and lasting impression.

A Stiff or formal style is one that is harsh, constrained, not natural and easy; corresponding to the stiff and formal in behavior.

An Abrupt style is one in which the sentences are short and abrupt, and the thoughts appear to be unconnected-in which there are sudden changes from one subject to another.

A Weak or feeble style is one which is commonplace in manner and matter, and that has little power to arrest the attention or excite the feelings.

A Simple style is one in which there is little apparent labor, and no attempt at any thing but merely to be understood; but it is not puerile and childish. Some of the best descriptions of Irving are notable for their great simplicity of style.

A Pure or chaste style is one that uses pure and correct English ; a style that avoids the use of obsolete words on the one hand, and of newly-coined and foreign words on the other. (See p. 84.)

An Affected style—the opposite of a simple style—is one that is given to false show-a pretentious style. It is a style that makes great pretensions, with but few corresponding results.

A Florid style is one in which there is great profusion of ornament, an over-abundance of figurative language. It shows an obvious desire to produce effect; a fondness for the pomp and parade of language.

A Concise style is one in which a writer or speaker expresses his thoughts in few words, without circumlocution, and with little ornament. It is a style which retrenches all superfluities, and marks the distinct and accurate writer. It is precision in language.

A Diffuse or loose style—which characterizes a prolix writer—is a style that uses many words to express the meaning. It is the opposite of a concise style. One great source of a diffuse style is the injudicious use of those words termed synonyms.

A Bombastic style is one in which great swelling words are used to express common thoughts; and it arises out of a serious endeavor to raise a low or familiar subject above its rank. A species of the bombastic is what is sometimes called fustian or rant, such as boisterous, empty declamation"the rant of fanatics."

Both in style and subject matter a writer may also be humorous, pathetic, or sublime.

A Humorous writer is one who, affecting to be grave and serious, paints his objects in such colors as to excite mirth and laughter. A humorous writer is a witty writer ; but while wit may consist of a single brilliant thought, humor is a continuous and pleasing flow of wit. Wit often offends, but humor is always agreeable. (See p. 188.)

The Pathetic in writing is that which is calculated to move the feelings, particularly the feelings of pity, sorrow, and grief. It is in the pathetic part of a discourse that eloquence exerts its greatest power.

The Sublime in writing—which is adapted to grand and noble objects only-consists of boldness and grandeur in the thoughts, so expressed in language as to fill the mind with lofty conceptions. In the sacred Scriptures are found the highest instances of the sublime. The most noted example is the following: “God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” Bombast is one species of false sublime.


Next to the primary requisites of a clear articulation and correct pronunciation, the vocal expression which shall correctly picture forth the varied thoughts, sentiments, and feelings intended to be conveyed by written language, depends upon the following MODES of the voice. The voice is varied by different modes and degrees of Quantity, Force, Stress, Time, Pitch, Emphasis, Quality, and Inflection.

QUANTITY relates to the volume or quantity of sound given to syllables. Thus the syllable pit is incapable of receiving the same quantity of sound that can be given to the syllable rõll; yet either may be pronounced with greater or less volume or prolongation of sound, without varying the degree of force. Quantity is increased both by Force and Time.

FORCE gives increased loudness to sound, and hence, while the time given to the pronunciation of a syllable remains the same, Force increases the quantity or volume of sound. Although the volume of sound may vary from a soft and short whisper to a vehement and prolonged shout, yet it is sufficient for practical purposes to make only three degrees of it, soft, moderate, and loud.

Soft and gentle tones, with little force, are used to express pathetic and subdued feelings, caution, secrecy, wonder, reverence, awe, pity, tenderness, and love.

Moderate force is used in unimpassioned discourse, and in reading narrative, descriptive, or didactic writings.

Loud force is used in powerful appeals to a multitude, and in expressing all violent passions and vehement emotions, such as anger, command, exultation.

A full medium volume of sound distinguishes manly sentiments from childlike emotions. It is also the expression of noble manhood, as differing both from the light treble of childhood, and the thin voice of old age which “pipes and whistles in its sound.”

STRESS. The different degrees of force and quantity may be applied with greater or less stress of the voice-abruptly, to express command, indignation, anger, defiance, spite, revenge, sudden fear, etc.; or smoothly and uniformly, to express animated, joyous, beautiful, noble, and generally all pleasant thoughts and feelings.

TIME. The time that should be given to the pronunciation of syllables, to pauses, and, consequently, to the entire reading of a piece, must also depend upon the character of the piece. If the piece be grave or pathetic, it will require slow time in the enunciation. If it be a narrative or descriptive piece, it will require medium or moderate time—that is, of the standard measure of all unemotional language. If the piece be animated or joyous, humorous and witty, it will require a somewhat rapid enunciation. The length, both of the grammatical and elocutionary pauses, will also vary according to the character of the piece.

Pitch OF VOICE. Pitch of voice has reference to its degree of elevation, as being high or low in tone. The medium of elevation in reading any piece is called the Key Note, or governing note, below and above which the voice of a speaker-may range from the lowest to the highest clear sound which he can make. The extent of this range is called his compass of voice.

The Middle Pitch is the governing or key note in common conversation and in unimpassioned thought. Language of little or no emotion admits but a moderate range of voice. The Low Pitch is the key note for the language of sublimity, awe, and

Such language admits less range of voice than the former, approaching, in some cases, almost to monotone, or entire sameness of tone.


« PreviousContinue »