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something which, in a separate state, they are unable to do.
Similar to the above are such sentences as the following; in which the members, although of themselves separate assertions, are so necessarily connected that they form one individual whole:
“ It is with diseases of the mind as with diseases of the body; we are half dead before we understand our disorder, and half cured when we do." -Lacon.
“ The day of the christening being come, and the house filled with Gossips, the levity of whose conversation suited but ill with the gravity of Dr. Cornelius, he cast about how to pass this day more agreeably to his character; that is to say, not without some profitable conference, nor wholly without observance of some ancient custom.” -Martinus Scriblerus.
But, besides these and such like sentences, there are others where the connecting tie is less strong; and which, in the hands of some writers, are divided into simple sentences. The following, from Colton's Lacon, may be taken as an example:
“ Death is the liberator of him whom freedom cannot release; the physician of him whom medicine cannot curel; and the comforter of him whom time cannot console.”
This sentence is easily divisible into three sentences that are quite disconnected with each other.
“ Death is the liberator of him whom freedom cannot release.”
" Death is the physician of him whom medicine cannot cure.”
“ Death is the comforter of him whom time cannot console."
The separated parts remain; but the building is disjointed, and the symmetry of the architec
ture is gone.
A judicious intermixture of simple and of compounded thoughts is the style most adapted to modern times. The unlinked succession of short sentences, (like a string of proverbs,) seems to carry us back to the origin of writing; when objects were placed separately and nakedly before our eyes ;-ere man had learned to classify his ideas, and to clothe them with foliage.
CONSTRUCTION OF Sentences continued. COMPARISON WITH THE ARRANGEMENT
We have repeatedly spoken of the arrangement of words and clauses, and of the power of transposing any particular arrangement: Let us now endeavour to discover whether or not there is any natural order; and, if there is, to what extent our language admits of inversion.
A simple thought appears to us to be instantaneously acquired. Our feelings are affected, or our will is exerted, with the rapidity of lightening. But when we endeavour to communicate this thought to another person, it does not seem
be so easy of acquisition. He is not acted upon by the mysterious machinery of nature, but gathers the thought, by separate portions, as artificial language is able to impart: we say artificial, because there is also a natural language which expresses, with energetic swiftness, the feelings of the human heart:
“ A single look more marks th' interpal wo
Than all the windings of the lengthen's Oh!
Up to the face the quick sensation flies,
Spoken language, by means of gesture, emphasis and accents, is benefitted by this half-mute language of nature. It is imitated by the actor, and is the soul of unpremeditated oratory. But the writer possesses no such advantages. Ask the lover if the broken whisper, the gentle pressure of the hand, and the furtive glance of the eye, can be sufficiently expressed, by the softest words in the vocabulary of love.
When we speak of the natural order of a sentence, if we do not allude to simplicity jn opposition to affectation, we must mean that of calm narrative, as differing from what is the effect of strong excitement. The passions, standing in peculiar points of view, see objects in different lights, and in other arrangements than those in which they appear to a less interested spectator; and they have, therefore, in all languages, peculiar modes of utterance, consequent upon the modifications of the mind of him who speaks.
Yesterday morning, as I was walking in the fields, I saw John stab James through the heart, with a dagger.'
This, certainly, is a calm narrative, for the cir
cumstances are as coolly related as if the speaker had, merely, seen a man shoot a hare. The language of feeling would have been differently arranged: the prominent part of the picture would have been brought forward, and the circumstances cast into shade.
James is murdered! I saw John stab him to the heart! Such would naturally have been the exclamation of a friend.
The former narrative is what would be expected in a Court of Justice; where every circumstance is of consequence, and where the passions ought not to be excited.
· In the Greek and Roman languages,” says Dr. Blair, “ the most common arrangement is, to place that first which strikes the imagination of the speaker most;" and he proceeds to contrast this principle with the order of modern tongues :
All the modern languages of Europe," says he, “have adopted a different arrangement from the ancient. In their prose compositions, very little variety is admitted in the collocation of words; they are mostly fixed to one order, and that order is, what may be called, the Order of the Understanding. They place first in the sentence, the person or thing which speaks or acts; next its action; and lastly, the object of the action. So