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11. Princes in their infancy, childhood, and youth, are said to discover prodigious parts and wit, to speak things that surprise and astonish; strange, so many hopeful princes, so many shameful kings! If they happen to die young, they would have been prodigies of wisdom and virtue: if they live, they are often prodigies indeed, but of another sort.
12. There never was any party, faction, sect, or cabal whatsoever, in which the most ignorant were not the most violent; for a bee is not a busier animal than a blockhead. However, such instruments are necessary to politicians; and perhaps it may be with states as with clocks, which must have some dead-weight hanging at them, to help regulate the motion of the finer and more useful parts. 13. In the Chapel, O ye students.
Where the boys come duly slow,
Softly come and softly go;
In a deep and solemn flow,
As you did one year ago ?
A book's a book, although there's nothing in 't. 15. “Professor,” said a graduate, at parting, "I am indebted to you for all I know." "Pray do not mention such a trifle,” was the not very flattering reply.
16. Of his simplicity let me record an instance where a sad and civil young Chinaman brought me certain shirts with most of the buttons missing, and others hanging on delusively by a single thread. In a moment of unguarded irony I informed him that unity would at least have been preserved if the buttons were removed altogether. He smiled sadly and went away. I thought I had hurt his feelings, until the next week when he brought me my shirts with a look of intelligence, and the buttons carefully and totally erased.
17. This ambulatory chapel of Bacchus that gives the colic, but not inebriates, only appeared at the Commencement holidays, and the lad who bought of Lewis laid out his money well, getting respect as well as beer, three “sirs" to every glass,—“Beer, sir? yes, sir; spruce or ginger, sir?"
18. If there was any incense burning I could smell it, and that would be something. But there is no smell in our church, except of bad air,—for there is no provision for ventilation in the splendid and costly edifice. The reproduction of the Gothic is so complete that the builders even seem to have brought over the ancient air from one of the churches of the Middle Ages, you would declare it had n't been changed in two centuries.
19. A college professor, lecturing on the effect of the wind in Western forests, remarked: “In traveling along the road I sometimes found the logs bound and twisted together to such an extent that a mule could not climb over them, so I went round.”
20. “Third boy, what's a horse?" "A beast, sir," replied the boy. "So it is,” said Squeers. “Ain't it, Nickleby ?” “I believe there is no doubt of that, sir," answered Nicholas. “Of course there is n't!" said Squeers. “A horse is a quadruped, and quadruped's Latin for beast, as everybody that's gone through the grammar knows, or else where's the use of having grammars at all?" “Where, indeed!” said Nicholas, abstractedly. “As you 're perfect in that," resumed Squeers, turning to the boy, “ go and look after my horse, and rub him down well, or I'll rub you down.”
21. “You must be either a knavę or a fool," said two lawyers to an Irishman sitting between them. “No, I'm between both," was the reply.
22. Dear, gentle, patient, noble Nell was dead. Her little birda poor, slight thing the pressure of a finger would have crushed—was stirring nimbly in its cage; and the strong heart of its child mistress was mute and motionless forever,
BEAUTY AND SUBLIMITY.
That form of composition which concerns itself wholly with the expression of the thought, is our ordinary prose. The worth of its style is in proportion to the clearness or force with which it expresses the thought. That style which, instead of attracting attention to itself, presents prominently the thought, is regarded as the best style; yet, independent of the thought, style has a value peculiarly its own, and adds much to the attractiveness of the idea it conveys. All thought can not be appropriately expressed in the same manner; hence, the variety of style-a variety as great as the multitudinous ideas it would portray. Language and grace of expression should not soar above the thought, neither should they fall below it; there should be a perfect union of the two.
Beauty.-Beauty of expression, in its rarest form, shows itself in poetry, the most artistic species of literature; it is not sought with such anxious quest in prose-prose which does the every-day work of our social life. Beauty, or elegance, is the highest and most delicate quality of style. In a writer, it is the outcome of high culture, perfect selfpossession, a beautiful subject, and a most complete mastery of it.
Beauty of thought is essential to beauty of expression. Words also, must be selected with regard to beauty and euphony. The English language affords the writer a richness of expression and a variety that is not found in any other tongue: every passion and every thought can be uttered in language especially appropriate to it. From this rich diversity in our vocabulary, it happens that where the words are well chosen and aptly used, the beauty of the diction is at once seen, since every kind of it is set off by some other differing from it. When the words of a language are mainly euphonious or harsh, short or long, weak or forcible, there can be but little beauty arising from the fitness in sound of the word to the idea.
Imagery conduces to beauty of expression. Figures of speech should not be used merely to adorn; at the same time it is not necessary that the image enlist wholly in the service of the thought. Beautiful imagery may minister to
our taste, gratify our craving for the beautiful, without neglecting its duty to the thought.
Alliteration is consistent with elegance. While it destroys both the strength and harmony of discourse to use words that sound alike, it is allowable, even in prose, to begin several successive words with the same letter—and this because it is agreeable to the ear.
Smoothness is an essential quality. Elegance requires that the sentence be smooth and flowing. This is somewhat incompatible with energy, which, impatient of long sentences, puts itself into the most compact form to be hurled at the mark. When beauty of expression is sought, the sentence may be allowed to run over long stretches without stopping, provided it move smoothly, leisurely, and without apparent effort, —its parts not separated by anything parenthetical.
Rhythm contributes to elegance of expression. It need not occur with perfect uniformity, as in the case of poetry; it may vary from two to six syllables. It requires on the part of the reader a rise and a fall of the voice; the parts of the sentence are nicely balanced, as is frequently seen in sentences containing antitheses.
Sublimity.--As a quality of discourse the sublime differs from the beautiful in the greater excitement of mind and feeling of awe which accompany it. Like the beautiful it gives pleasure, but the pleasure is too intense to be lasting, while beauty is a source of perpetual joy.
A comparison between sublimity and beauty is given in the following lines by Burke: “In this comparison, there appears a remarkable contrast; for sublime objects are vast in their dimensions, beautiful ones comparatively small: beauty should be smooth and polished; the great, rugged and negligent: beauty should shun the right line, yet deviate from it insensibly; the great, in many cases, loves the right line, and when it deviates, it often makes a strong deviation; beauty should not be obscure; the great ought to be dark and gloomy: beauty should be light and delicate; the great ought to be solid and even massive."
Among the various circumstances that may be mentioned as producing a feeling of the sublime, are vastness, power, awfulness, obscurity, sound, and moral greatness.
Vastness of dimension is a powerful cause of the sublime. Great extension, whether in length, height, or depth, awes the soul with the thought of its own weakness. Of these, length strikes least; a hundred yards of even ground will never produce such an effect upon the mind as a tower of that altitude. Height is, perhaps, less grand than depth; we are more struck at looking down from a precipice than looking up at an object of equal height. Endless numbers and eternal duration fill the mind with ideas of sublimity.
Power is an indispensable condition of things truly sublime—that is, such power as fills man with a knowledge of his own weakness. It is not that which is subservient to his ease or to his pleasure, but that which he feels may become the instrument of his destruction. Among natural objects possessing this quality may be mentioned earthquakes, thunder and lightning, volcanoes, cataracts, storms at sea, the tornado, and nearly all violent commotions of the elements. Some of the larger animals, such as the lion, the tiger, the panther, or the rhinoceros, display a power and majesty that raise an emotion of sublimity in the beholder. In the book of Job it is said of the war-horse: “The glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength; he goeth on to meet