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erudite diction, never, throughout all his poems, I believe, uses the words "commence" or "commencement;" and let them observe how Shakspeare perpetually makes his beautiful uses of the simple English word, and is even content to make it shorter and simpler yet, as in the touching line that tells so much of the guilt-wasted soul of Macbeth

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"I'gin to grow a-weary of the sun.' Let me exemplify this tendency away from the native character of the language in the structure of sentences as well as in the choice of words. I refer to the frequent abandonment of that peculiarly characteristic arrangement which puts a preposition at the end of a sentence. This is eminently an English idiom, and nothing but prejudice arising from misapplied analogy with the Southern languages, and the propensity to make style more formal and less idiomatic, could ever have led any one to suppose this construction to be wrong. The false fastidiousness which shuns a short particle at the end of a sentence, is fatal often to a force which belongs to the language with its primal character. The superiority of the idiom I am referring to, could be proved beyond question by examples of the best writing in all the eras of the language. As the error is pretty wide spread, let me cite a few of these. Lord Bacon says, "Houses are built to live in, and not to look on ;" and again, "Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out." Any attempt to transpose these separable prepositions would destroy the strength and the terseness of the sentences. Even a stronger example occurs in a passage in one of the great English divines, a contemporary of Bacon's: "Hath God

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a name to swear by? . . . Hath God a name to curse by? Hath God a name to blaspheme by? and hath God no name to pray by ?"* The opening sentence of one of Mr. Burke's most celebrated speeches is "The times we live in have been distinguished by extraordinary events;" Dr. Franklin's phrase, with its twenty-five Saxon and four Latin words: ". William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk about my age, who had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals of any man I ever met with." And observe such a sentence as this of Arnold's, "Knowledge must be worked for, studied for, thought for; and, more than all, it must be prayed for." I really think that people, in writing and speaking, might get over their fear of finding a preposition at the end of their sentences.

But it is not only the Saxon side of the language that is to be prized and cultured: its glory is, in fact, its wonderfully composite character, the Anglo-Norman element, as well as the Anglo-Saxon, contributing to its copiousness and power; and there is no more pleasing study in language, than to observe how, in all the best writers, these elements are harmoniously combined. One of the boldest instances of this has been noticed in these lines in Macbeth, in which two very long words are blended with short ones with singular effect:

"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood

Clean from my hand? No! this, my hand will rather
The multitudinous sea incarnardine,

Making the green-one red."‡

* Donne's Sermon on the Penitential Psalms, vol. vi. p. 380. † Arnold's Miscellaneous Works, p. 234. On the Education of the Middle Classes. Also, Hallam's Literature of Europe, vol. iv. 535.

A less familiar line occurs to me where, at the end of a series of

A well-known line in the same tragedy reminds me of another antique quality which has been curiously retained, long after the formal practice of it has been disused, and now prevails peculiarly in all vigorous English prose, as well as poetry: I refer to the use of alliteration, as derived from some of the forms of early poetry in England. If you will take the pains to observe it, you will probably be surprised to find to what an extent it is employed in English literature, both now and formerly. It is a curious study of the language to trace the power that lies in the repetition of a letter in a succession of words; as when Macbeth says,

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For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.*

In the versions attached to Retsch's Outlines in French, Italian, Spanish, and German, no one of the languages attempts this tremendous alliteration. I cannot pause upon this quality of style further than to remark, that he who studies the language, will find an interest in observing how beautiful and striking, and, indeed, how natural, this apparently artificial process becomes in the hands of a master

Saxon words, a Latin word is brought in with singular power. In the second part of Henry VI., Suffolk says to Queen Margaret,

"For where thou art, there is the world itself

With every several pleasure in the world;

And where thou art not, desolation." W. B. R.

*Or in the incantation,

"the salt-sea shark;

Root of hemlock digg'd; i' the dark,
Finger of birth-strangled babe,

Ditch delivered by a drab." W. B. R.

of the language. The mere affinity of initial letters is also one of the mental associations which not unfrequently gives the fittest word to be found.*

In describing the English language as a composite language, we get, perhaps, a wrong notion of its being made up by the union of two dialects, the Saxon and the Norman. The truth rather seems to be, that the Anglo-Saxon language has displayed the same powers of acquisition as have distinguished the race, and has thus enlarged the domain by conquest, and appropriation, and annexation, retaining, however, withal, its essentially Teutonic character. Its early acquisitions from abroad were words of French or Southern birth, which became part of the natural spoken language, the copiousness and power of which were thus admirably increased. A single specimen will show that this is a copiousness giving not

"The Northern languages," remarks Mr. Henry Taylor, (Notes on Books, p. 132,) "have often been reproached for their excess in consonants, guttural, sibilant, or mute, and it has been concluded, as a matter of course, that languages in which vowels and liquids predominate must be better adapted to poetry, and that the most mellifluous language must be also the most melodious. . . This is but a rash and ill-considered condemnation of our native tongue. In dramatic verse,

more particularly, our English combinations of consonants are invaluable, not only for the purpose of reflecting grace and softness by contrast, or accelerating the verse by a momentary detention, but also in giving expression to the harsher passions, and in imparting keenness and significancy to the language of discrimination, and especially to that of scorn. In Shakspeare for instance, what a blast of sarcasm whistles through that word, "Thrift, thrift, Horatio!" with its one vowel and five consonants, and then how the verse runs on with a low, confidential smoothness, as if to give effect to the outbreak by the subsequent suppression,

"the funeral-baked meats

Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables."

H. R.

merely duplicate words, but distinct expressions for delicate shades of meaning. The words "apt" and "fit" might be thought to differ only in this, that the former is of Latin derivation; but "apt" has an active sense, and "fit" a passive sense-a distinction clearly shown by Shakspeare, when the poisoner in the play in Hamlet says, "hands apt, drugs fit," and by Wordsworth

"Our hearts more apt to sympathize

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With heaven, our souls more fit for future glory."

While the early additions to the language were fairly absorbed into it, and have proved so valuable, the later introductions of words of Latin or French formation have never, in like manner, become natural and national; and their presence has, therefore, been often injurious as an element not divested of its foreign tone.

In our reading of English prose, it is well worth while to study what has become almost a lost art. I mean what may be called the architecture, as it were, of a long and elaborate sentence, with its continuous and well-sustained flow of thought and feeling, and, however interwoven, orderly and clear. This is to be sought chiefly in the great prose-writers of former centuries. "Read that

*The composite character of the language thus provides us with a large class of words not strictly synonymous, but serving to express the most delicate shades of meaning: we have, for instance, the words "feelings" and "sentiments," at first sight apparently mere duplicate words; but it has been observed that there is a certain idea of passiveness connected with the feelings, which contrasts with the idea of activity in the word "sentiments," and that the former came down to us from the ruder and simpler Saxon, and the latter from the more refined and cultivated Norman. H. R.

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