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the emotion, we often speak of passages of literature as having great power. Such are well illustrated in many of Tennyson's poems; as, “ Break, Break, Break,” • Enoch Arden,” “ The May Queen,” “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington.”
Thus Energy, in whatever kind of discourse, has reference to the power with which the end is reached, - to whatever the writer adds to clearness of expression to carry the matter with strength, force, or vigor to the end sought.
Elegance. — Elegance is that quality of expression which adapts the discourse to please. It is the essential quality in literary composition; but in prose, Elegance is subordinate to Clearness, being permissable only to stimulate and open the mind to receive the thought expressed; while in oratory, Elegance serves to charm and win assent to propositions of duty and action. As Clearness, while the characteristic quality of prose, is essential to poetry and oratory, so Elegance, while the characteristic quality of poetry, is essential, under certain conditions, to prose and to oratory. A degree of Elegance may be said to be essential to all prose and to all oratory. At least, the style of these must be in good taste to the degree of having nothing disagreeable or offensive in them. The elements of style thus mutually condition each other. Clearness economizes the intellectual effort of interpretation; Elegance economizes the energies of the mind in the feelings, or by exhilarating the faculties enables them to do the work with greater ease. Thus not only to the degree of avoiding offense, but to that of giving buoyancy to the faculties, Elegance is required in all discourse, and truth presented in the oration is often most deeply impressed by being clothed in forms of beauty.
In Clearness, the laws of style are deduced from the necessary intellectual acts of language interpretation. In Elegance we are to deduce the laws wholly from an appeal to the sensibilities; and to them as the sense of the beautiful. Elegance appeals to the esthetic sense, and its laws must be determined by the general laws of beauty. Here style, in the highest form of Elegance, becomes the end of expression; not style as mere language, but the complete embodiment of the thought. It is not the purpose for the attention to rest in the mere matter communicated, as in prose; but the attention is diverted to the conception of the matter; the emotions are enlisted by it. The method, not the matter, is the chief concern of the writer and the source of interest to the reader. This does not mean that Elegance arises from mere external workmanship; but rather that the matter itself becomes a part of the method — becomes one with the expression. Matter and form coalesce into a new and living product, which as a whole pleases the taste. Thus, while style is subordinate to the end of thought and volition in prose and in oratory, in poetry it becomes an end in itself, existing in and for itself, as does any other beautiful object.
An object is said to be beautiful when it is felt that the idea, or energy, which it manifests has its freedom. A moving train is beautiful when it is felt that the energy which moves it is not in bondage to the train, — when the energy manifests itself with ease and freedom. When the observer is conscious, through the puffing, straining, and slipping of wheels, that the energy is straining to move the train, he pronounces it ugly. The electric car is felt to be beautiful because it seems to be the free manifestation of its own inner life; while a car drawn by external force seems to be helpless and in bondage to its own nature, and hence felt to be ugly. A column is beautiful — well proportioned — when it supports its weight without effort, — when not so small that it seems in a strain to support weight above it, or when not so large that it has to support unnecessary weight in itself ; that is, when it is free in relation to the end it accomplishes. A tree is beautiful when the energy which creates it has fully and freely manifested itself. If the tree is lopped and twisted so that the creative energy suffers opposition and violence, the tree is felt to be ugly. Thus beauty is the manifestation of free, creative energy.
Language is beautiful, therefore, when it gives freedom to the energy which produces it ; and this in the twofold respect of its being the product of a physical force and of the idea which calls it forth. Such language causes esthetic pleasure in the process of interpretation. Clearness and Energy are also beautiful. One cannot help admiring perfectly transparent language, and this is because of the sense of freedom felt in coming directly in touch with the idea. Obscure language is necessarily ugly because it awakens a sense of bondage. Energetic language is felt to be beautiful because the purpose of the speaker or writer is fully and freely realized. The reader cannot help rejoicing in the effective expression of a thought. In reading a good style of writing one often exclaims, That's the way to say it! because it brings to the reader an idealized sense of his own freedom of effort in giving his expression to thought.
To put the case differently, every one has an abiding sense of bondage in expressing his thought so that it may produce the desired effect. When the reader reads an effective style of writing, his sense of bondage is removed in a sense of freedom of expression awakened by the style. A writer may wish to arouse a feeling of sadness or of charity or of philanthropy, and his whole effort must be expended in producing the desired effect. When the language is fully adequate to the desired end, the reader rejoices in the idealized freedom of expression awakened in the process of interpretation.
Thus in one sense Elegance is only the bloom of Clearness and Energy. It cannot be added to language; it is intrinsic and organic, and consists in whatever awakens the sense of language freedom.
CONDITIONS FOR SECURING THE QUALITIES.
Conditions for Securing Clearness. — Thought cannot be clearly embodied in language by any mere study of diction as such. Perspicuity of expression has its foundation in perspicuity of thought. The style grows out of the thought. The relation is an organic, a
vital one. Style is not mechanism; it is organism. It is built from the inside out, by the vital force which urges to expression. Thought is the soul; expression, the incarnate form, vitalized and moulded, not by external pressure, but by the inner impulse of thought. True, Clearness depends on the right use of words and forms in which thought is embodied; but this must be ordered from within and not from without.
Clearness of thought, therefore, with all that this implies of accurate discipline and thorough furnishing of the mind, is the general primary condition to clearness of expression. He who would seek this quality of style must subject himself to whatever discipline will secure power of distinct conceptiòn and clear insight, and the habit of methodical, thorough, and complete mental activity; to whatever will multiply the resources of his mind and increase the scope of his mental vision. Confused and obscure thinking cannot result in other than confused and obscure language, and only clearness of thinking can clothe itself in clearness of expression. It must not be understood that because the writer. thinks clearly that he will necessarily write clearly. He is yet under the limitations of the laws of expression, to which he must render conscious obedience. There may be clear thinking without clear expression, but not clear expression without clear thinking. It is here intended to emphasize only the fundamental importance of a mind trained to realize distinctly, vividly, and thoroughly, whatever it wishes to body forth in language form; and that to cultivate a perspicuous style implies not only the study