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in poetry, they may be sparingly allowed as poetical licenses.* They are allowable, also, in animated discourse, to introduce abruptly an emphatic word, or to repeat an idea to impress it more strongly; as, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” “I know thee who thou art.”
Pleonasm is nearly allied to tautology, but is occasionally a less glaring fault in a sentence; and, indeed, it may be considered justifiable, and even sometimes elegant, when we wish to present thoughts with particular perspicuity or force; but an unemphatic repetition of the same idea is one of the worst of faults in writing.
Pleonasm implies merely superfluity. Although the words do not. as in tautology, repeat the sense, they add nothing to it.
Pleonasm differs, also, from what is called verbosity. Verbosity, it is true, implies a superabundance of words; but, in a pleonasm there are words which add nothing to the sense. In the verbose manner, not only single words, but whole clauses, may have a meaning, and yet it would be better to omit them, because what they mean is unimportant.
Another difference is, that, in a pleonasm, a complete correction may be made, by simply omitting the superfluous words; but, in a verbose sentence, it will be necessary to alter, as well as to omit.
It is a good rule, always to look over what has been written, and to strike out every word and clause, which it is found will leave the sentence neither less clear, nor less forcible, than it was before.
There are many sentences which would not bear the omission of a single word, without affecting the clearness and force of the expression, and which would be very much improved, were they recast, and the sense expressed by fewer and more forcible words. Thus, for instance, in the following sentence, no word can be omitted without affecting the sense.
“A severe and tyrannical exercise of power must become a matter of necessary policy with kings, when their subjects are imbued with such principles as justify and authorize re
But the same sense may be much better expressed in fewer words, thus;
“Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from prin ciple.”
Redundancy is another terin, also employed to signify superfluity in the words and members of a sentence. Pleonasm and verbosity relate, principally, to the words in a sentence, but redundancy relates to the members as well as the words. As every word ought to present a new idea, so every member ought to contain a new thought. The following sentence exemplifies the fault of redundancy. “ The very first discovery of it strikes the mind with inward joy, and spreads delight through all its faculties.” In this example, little or nothing is added by the second member of the sentence, to what was expressed in the first.
* See the article on Poetical License.
The following sentences present examples of pleonasm, verbosity, and redundancy, which may be corrected by the learner.
Exercises. The rain, is it not over and gone? I hear no wind, only the voice of the streams. My banks they are furnished with bees.
It is impossible for us to behold the divine works with coldness or indifference, or to survey so many beauties, without a secret satisfaction and complacency.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
This great politician desisted from, and renounced his designs, when he found them impracticable.
He was of so high and independent a spirit, that he abhorred and de. tested being in debt.
Though raised to an exalted station, she was a pattern of piety, virtue, and religion.
The human body may be divided into the head, trunk, limbs, and vitals.
His end soon approached ; and he died with great courage and fortitude.
He was a man of so much pride and vanity, that he despised the sentiments of others.
Poverty induces and cherishes dependence; and dependence strengthens and increases corruption.
This man, on all occasions, treased his inferiors with great haughtiness and disdain.
There can be no regularity or order in the life and conduct of that man who does not give and allot a due share of his time to retirement and reflection.
Sue's equivocal and ambiguous expressions, mark a formed intention to deceive and abuse us.
Ilis cheerful, happy temper, remote from discontent, keeps up a kind of daylight in his mind, excludes every gloomy prospect, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Bring content with deserving a triumph, he refused the honor of it.
In the Attic cammonwealth, it was the privilege of every citizen and poet to rail aloud in pablic.
VARIETY OF EXPRESSION.
The various modes of transposition and inversion, by which the same idea can be expressed by different inflections of the worils have already been presented. In this exercise the modes are suggested by which the idea may be clothed in different language, still, for the most part preserving its identity.*
The young should be diligent and industrious, and make a proper use of their time.
Diligence, industry, and proper improvement of time are material duties of the young.
Young men, be industrious; make the best use of your time ; an awful responsibility rests upon you.
Young persons should be made sensible, that it is their duty to be diligent and industrious, and to employ their time in useful pursuits.
To be diligent and industrious, and to employ their time in profitable occupations, are things which we expect from young persons.
In the morning of life, when the phantoms of hope are flitting before their sight, and the visions of fancy are decorating their prospects, the young should not suffer themselves to be deluded by expectations which cannot be realized. The golden sands should not be wantonly wasted in their path. nor should the precious moments of life be suffered to take flight, without bearing on their wings some token of their value.
Duty addresses the young in an imperative tone, requiring them to apply themselves with diligence to their proper occupations, and forbidding them to pay one moment but in pur. chase of its worth. “And what is its worth? - Ask death. beds; they can tell."
Young persons cannot be commended when they devote those hours to indolence, which should have been given to industry; for time is valuable, and should be properly employed.
* It is to be observed, that, in the practice of the principle involved in this exercise, the teacher should not be too rigid in noticing the faults of pleonasm, verbosity, or redundancy. The object of the exercise is to give à command of language, and it will be well, when this object is partially effected, to require the learner to take his own sentences and prune them on the principles explained in the preceding exercises.
The young should be diligent and industrious, and properly improve their time.*
It is not only when duty addresses them with her warning voice that the young should practise the virtues of diligence and industry; a proper improvement of their time is at all times expected from them.
Example 2d. [The different modes of expressing the same idea give rise to the distinctions of style which have been mentioned in the Introduction. The subject of style will be more fully treated in the subsequent pages. The following sentence will exemplify to the student the effect of two of the varieties of style.]
Style of simple Narration. Yesterday morning, as I was walking in the fields, I saw John stab James through the heart with a dagger. Style of passionate exclamation, in which the prominent idea
is brought forward, and the circumstances are cast into the shade. James is murdered! I saw John stab him to the heart.
Exercises. [The student must be careful to make use of his understanding and dis crimination, as well as his dictionary, in the performance of these exer: cises.)
True friendship is like sound health, the value of it is seldom knowo until it is lost.
As no roads are so rough as those that have just been mended, so no sinners are so intolerant as those that have just turned saints.
When certain persons abuse as, let us ask ourselves what description of characters it is that they admire; we shall often find this a very consolatory question.
* In the Introduction to this book, notice was taken of the different forms, or style, of composition. In this model, an attempt has been made to imitate several of the diversities of style there mentioned ; and it will be useful to the student, when he shall have become acquainted with the diversities of sizle, in the subsequent pages of this volume, to endeavor to designate them respectively by their peculiar characteristics. It may here be remarked, that the style of common conversation, called the colloquial style, allows the introduction of tems and expressions, which are not used in grave writing.
Conteniporaries appreciate the man rather than the merit; but pos, terity will regard the merit rather than the man.
All beyond enough is too much; all beyond nourishment is luxury all beyond decency is extravagance.
Form your taste on the classics, and your principles on the book of all truth.
Let the first fruits of your intellect be laid before the altar of Him who breathed into your nostrils the breath of life; and with that breath, your immortal spirit.
The love of learning, though truly commendable, must never be gratified beyond a certain limit. It must not be indulged in to the injury of your health, nor to the hindrance of your virtue.
What will the fame derived from the most profound learning avail you, if you have not learned to be pious and humble, and temperate and charitable.
There is nothing more extraordinary in this country, than the transition of the seasons. The people of Moscow have no spring. Winter vanishes, and summer is. This is not the work of a week, or of a day but of one instant; and the manner of it exceeds belief.
On cagles' wings immortal scandals fly,
TRANSLATION, OR CONVERSION OF POETRY INTO
Poetry when literally translated makes in general but insipid prose. Prose is the language of reason, — poetry of feeling or passion. Prose is characterized by fulness and precision. Poetry deals largely in elliptical expressions, exclamations, exaggerations, apostrophes, and other peculiarities not usually found in prose. For the purpose, also, of accommodating them to the measure of a verse, the poets frequently alter or abbreviate words, and use expressions which would not be authorized in prose. Such abbreviations and alterations, together with other changes sometimes made, are called poetic licences, because they are principally used by poetical writers.
The following are some of the licences used by poetical writers. :
1. Elision, or the omission of parts of a word. When the elision is from the beginning of a word, it is called aphoresis, and consists in crit.