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OF COMPOSITION, AND ITS DIVISIONS INTO
GRAMMATICAL AND RHETORICAL.—Dis-
The objects of language, whether spoken or written, are threefold:
1. To communicate to others the impressions which the speaker has received;
2. To recal to the memory of others what they once knew; and,
3. To excite sensations in others through the medium of the imagination.
To produce either, or all, of these ends, by means of speech and gesture, is the business of the orator; to gain the same purpose, by an arrangement of characters that represent words and
sentences, is the province of the writer. The speech is an ORATION, and the writing is a ComPOSITION; and both are eloquent if they please the ear and satisfy the judgment of those to whom they are addressed. The distinction, however, between an Oration and a Composition is only occasional,—not universal. An unpremeditated harangue has seldom any of the advantages of literary labour; but the Orations of those Masters, who, in successive ages, have rivetted the attention and penetrated the hearts of their hearers, have all smelt of the lamp ever since the days of Demosthenes.
Composition may, with propriety, be divided into two parts: Grammatical and Rhetorical. The former treats of the arrangement of the materials; the latter of the materials themselves. The one teaches the art of mounting the skeleton, with pins and with wires; the other chuses the fairest forms from the valley, binds them with sinews and covers them with flesh, and, animating them with the breath of Genius, bids the dry bones live.
The Grammatical division of our work has been much more generally investigated than the Rhetorical. Something on the subject may be seen in every Grammar; and, unless when we hope to illustrate what has been left obscure, or