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ting off the initial letter or syllable of a word; as, 'squire for esguire, 'gainst for against, 'gan for began, &c. When the elision is from the body of the word, it is called syncope ; as, listning for listening, thundring for thundering, lov'd for loved, &c. When the elision is from the end of a word, it is called apocope, and consists in the cutting off of a final vowel or syl lable, or of one or more letters ; as, gime for give me, fro' for from, o' for of, th' evening for the wening, Philomel for Philomela.
2. SYNÆRESIS, or the contraction of two syllables into one, by rapidly pronouncing in one syllable two or more vowels which properly belong to separate syllables; as ae in the word Israel.
3. APOSTROPHE, or the contraction of two words into one; as, 't is for it is, can't for cannot, thou 'rt for thou art.
4. DIÆRESIS, or the division of one syllable into two; as, pu-is-sant for puissant.
5. PARAGOGE or the addition of an expletive letter; withouten for without, crouchen for crouch.
6. PROSTHESIS, or the prefixing of an expletive letter or syllable to a word; as, appertinent for pertinent, beloved for loved.
7. ENALLAGE, or the use of one part of speech for another; as in the following lines, in which an adjective is used for an adverb; as, “ Blue through the dusk the smoking currents shine."
• The fearful hare limps awkward.” 8. HYPERBATON, or the inversion or transposition of words, placing chat first which should be last; as, “And though, sometimes, each dreary pause between.”
“ Him answered then his loving mate and true.” 9. PLEONASM, or the use of, a greater number of words than are neces. kary to express the meaning; as,
“My banks they are furnished with bees.” 10. TMESIS, or the separation of the parts of a compound word; as, Un which side soever, for, On whichsoever side.
11. ELLIPSIS, or the omission of some parts not absolutely essential to express the meaning, but necessary to complete the grammatical construction.
The poets have likewise other peculiarities which are embraced under the general name of poetic diction. In order to accommodate their language to the rules of melody, and that they may be relieved, in some measure, from the restraints which verse imposes on them, they are indulged in the following usages, seldom allowable in prose.
1. They abbreviate nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, &c.; as, morn for morning, amaze for amazement, fount for fountain, dread for dreadful, lone for lonely, lure for allure, list for listen, ope for open, oft for often, haply for happily, &c., and use obsolete words * and obsolete meanings.
* Obsolete words are words which, although formerly current, are not now in common use.
2. They make use of ellipses more frequently than prose writers omitting the article, the relative pronoun, and sometimes even its anteccdent; using the auxiliaries without the principal verb to which they belong; and on the contrary, they also sometimes make use of repetitions which are seldom observed in prose.
3. They use the infinitive mood for a noun; use adjectives for adverbs, and sometimes even for nouns; and nouns for adjectives; ascribe quali. ties to things, to which they do not literally belong; form new compound epithets; connect the word self with nouns, as well as pronouns; sometimes lengthen a word by an additional letter or syllable, and give to the imperative mood both the first and third persons. ]
4. They arbitrarly employ or omit the prefixes; use active for neuter and neuter for active verbs; employ participles and interjections more frequently than prose writers ; connect words that are not in all respects similar; and use conjunctions in pairs contrary to grammatical rule.
5. They alter the regular arrangement of the words of a sentence, placing before the verb words which usually come after it, and after the verb those that usually come before it, putting adjectives after their nouns, the auxiliary after the principal verb; the preposition after the objective case which it governs; the relative before the antecedent; the infinitive mood before the word which governs it; and they also use one mood of the verb for another, employ forms of expression similar to those of other languages, and different from those which belong to the English language.
But one of the most objectionable features of poetic diction is the in terjection of numerous details, between those parts of a sentence which are closely combined by the rules of Syntax. Thus, in the following extract from one of the most celebrated poets of the language, generally characterized by the simplicity of his diction, the objective case is placed before the verb which governs it, while a number of circumstances are introduced between them.
But me, not destined such delights to share,
[In the following extracts, the student may point out the peculiarities of POETIC DICTION, which have now been enumerated. The words in Italia will assist him in recognizing them.]
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark.
Hereditary bondmen! Know ye not
And thou, O sun!
Behoves no more,
In the following exercises the learner is expected to write the ideas conveyed in the poetical extracts, in prose, varying the words and expressions, as well as the arrangement of
* This form of expression, where one mood of the verb is used for another, 18 sometimes imitated by prose writers. Thus, “Sixty summers had passed over his head without imparting one ray of warmth to his heart; without exciting one tender feeling for the sex, deprived of whose cheering presence, the paradise of the world were a wiiderness of weeds."-New Monthly Magazine. In this extract, the imperfect of the subjunctive is used without its attendant conjunction for the pluperfect of the potential. Cowper has a similar expression in his fable entitled “ The Needless Alarm,” where he uses th> pluperfect of the indicative for the pluperfect of the potential : thus,
“Awhile they mused; surveying every face,
Thou hadst supposed them of superior race.”
them, so as to make clear and distinct sentences, * as in the following
Same idea expressed in prose. Health, peace, and competence comprise all the pleasures which this world can afford.
Same linc transposed in a variety of ways.
The example shows that it is not always necessary to change the language, in order to convert poetry into prose. Of the ten modes in which the above recited line has been transposed, it will be noticed that several of them are entirely prosaic.
It may here be remarked that in the conversion of poetry into * Sir Walter Scott, in a letter to his son, (See Lockhart's Life, Vol. V., p. 54,) has the following language: “You should exercise yourself frequently in trying to make translations of the passages which most strike you, trying to invest the sense of Tacitus in as good English as you can. This will an swer the double purpose of making yourself familiar with the Latin author, and giving you the command of your own language, which no person will ever have, who does not study English Composition in early life." The conversion of verse into prose it is conceived will, at least in a good degree, subserve the same useful purpose of giving command of language; and for this reason the exercises in this lesson, or similar ones, cannot be too strongly recommended, especially to those whose minds have not been disciplined by an attention to the classics.
prose, the animation of the style is often endangered. Poetry admits more ornament than prose, and especially a more liberal use of that figure (Prosopopocia or Personification) by which life and action are attributed to inanimate objects. The exercises, therefore, of the pupil, in converting poetry into prose, will be deemed useful only as tending to give clear ideas and command of language. *
The learner is presumed now to be prepared to transpose simple tales and stories from verse into prose, with some additions of his own. Such exercises will be found of much use, not only in acquiring command of language, but also as an exercise of the imagination. In performing these exercises, the greatest latitude may be allowed, and the learner may be permitted not only to alter the language, but to substitute his own ideas, and to vary the circumstances, so as to make the exercise as nearly an original one as he can.
Example. The following short tale, or story in verse, is presented to be converted into a tale in prose.
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
* Any volume of poetical extracts will furnish additional exercises for the student. It is therefore deemed inexpedient to present in this volume an additional number of them.