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desires in finding the means of persuasion, and thus
ought to be urged; or he must disguise and misrepresent the motives of action, and involve himself in all the tortuous, perplexing paths of evil. Those desires, therefore, which are fitted to infuse life into oratory, to inspire and impassion poetry even, must have breadth, philanthropy, and virtue in them, or they cannot address common interests or enkindle common feelings. The great ideas of justice, the public weal, liberty, and virtue must fully penetrate the mind, arouse the heart, and furnish the desires those objects fitted to call forth and nourish speech. According to the intensity of the desire with which common ends, the interest of public and private well-being, are pursued will be the energy of discourse. Virtue must rely chiefly on persuasion, and has ever at hand the means and also the motives to employ it. That training which deepens and strengthens virtuous desires and brings the will under its steady government gives to the man, in its most reliable form, all the working power of his nature, impresses all his words with his own life, his own energy.” 1
A definite conception of the immediate end and of the relation of means to that end are essential to Energy. The discipline in thoroughness and accuracy and directness of thought, insisted on under Clearness, are equally important here. “While feeling impels, it cannot take the place of clear, explicit guidance. Nothing but a definite aim can arouse and concentrate the mind; and nothing but a full knowledge of the thought to be presented and faculties trained to wield thought with rapidity, precision, and power can warrant a high degree of energy.” i “Discourse which has an object — a palpable object, an object incessantly present to the speaker's thought, to which he hastens on for the hearer's sake — is sure in some degree to be energetic discourse.” ?
1 Bascom's “ Philosophy of Rhetoric.”
2. The immediate condition for securing Energy is Clearness and Elegance. Obscure thought cannot be presented with force ; and without a certain degree of Elegance, the mind will not readily receive the truth presented. But when Elegance rises to esthetic ends, Energy is sacrificed. Much feeling and interest may be thus aroused, but of no avail to the purpose. “The imagination has free scope, the heart is feasted, but the will is not nerved. The emasculated oration does the work of the novel. This error of discourse arises from the vanity of the speaker, and nourishes the indolence of all parties. It becomes fatal according to the greatness and urgency of the end proposed. It is, therefore, in pulpit oratory especially, the most inexcusable of faults.” Elegance must subordinate itself to the purpose of the speaker. If it does not submit itself to the purpose and to the theme, it ceases to be elegant; for an object not nicely adjusted to its end cannot be beautiful. Oratory must be in earnest; and being so prevents all indulgence of poetic taste, all display of workmanship, all reveling in poetic delights.
1 Bascom's “ Philosophy of Rhetoric.”
Conditions for Securing Elegance. — I. The first in order is culture on the part of the writer. As Clearness of style is conditioned by clearness of thinking, so Elegance is conditioned by richness and delicacy of feeling and beauty of conception. Rules of Elegance will avail little with a coarse and uncultivated writer. Longfellow is distinctively artistic in discourse, because, to a naturally refined soul and delicate taste, he added all the refinement of a rich and varied culture. Excessive faith in short processes, without the patience to wait the fruit of legitimate labor, often leads the youth to seek literary accomplishment by some special course in language training. . Again, it must be insisted that style is not something externally formed, but the natural growth of an inner impulse. The style of the man is the quality of the mind manifesting itself in external form; and the form will necessarily assume the delicacy, grace, and color of the soul from which it receives its vitality. No painting can add to the cheek the crimson flush of life; no mechanism can give to the artist's material the charm of life and beauty. “Nothing mounts into the region of art without undergoing some transformation, receiving buoyancy and color from the mind that wings it for its flight.” Elegance results from the infused life and character of the artist. Accordingly, he who aspires to artistic merit in style or to the fullest appreciation of the beautiful in discourse must discipline and enlighten the mind; purify, refine, and intensify the emotions, by the most thorough culture of which he is susceptible. Whatever, therefore, cultivates the taste, giving grace, buoyancy, and delicacy of movement to the mind; whatever makes the emotions sensitive and diversified; whatever gives the emotional chords tone, intensity, and harmony is an indispensable part of the composer's schooling in the art of elegant writing, and no less essential to appreciative reading. So much does Elegance depend on the quality of the mind that rules for securing it are almost worthless. Rules may do much toward securing Clearness, but Elegance is too diffused and volatile to be formulated.
2. The more immediate condition of Elegance is Clearness. In Elegance the language still remains a means of communicating the thought; and imperfect adaptation to that end, as with any other instrument, clashes with the pleasant emotion of the beautiful. The obscure is necessarily the ugly. Clear expression gives perfect freedom to the idea which seeks to develop itself in an external form ; and such freedom is of the nature of beauty. Wherever there seems to be a struggle of the idea, the essence, the soul within an object, to free itself, we have the sense of the false and- ugly. Expression which cramps the idea — obscure expression — is, therefore, inelegant. Tautology is not simply obscurity; it is deformity. A series of long sentences means not only exhausted faculties in grasping the ideas, but offended sense of harmony. Bungling work offends the taste, but that expression which so perfectly bodies forth the idea as to seem to be one with it is essentially elegant. This does not mean that Clearness can rise to the plane of positive pleasure; it is only the negative side of beauty in expression, having rather the absence of offensive elements than positive sources of pleasure.
THE RHETORICAL QUALITIES SECURED.
With such preparation as the preceding, — in general, through honesty and discipline; in particular, some definite, specific aim fixed upon, and a thorough mastery of the thought which is to serve as a means to the end, — the writer comes to the immediate process of putting his thoughts in language.
This process is controlled by the process of interpretation, for it is in this process that language appears clear, becomes impressive, and appeals to the taste.
The process of giving the thought and that of receiv. ing it are opposite in method; the first being by a process of analysis, the second by a process of synthesis. Before beginning to embody his thought, the writer must grasp his matter as an organic whole, in which act he analyzes and presents part by part in the light of the whole. But the reader receives part by part, and constructs the whole as he proceeds. The writer sees the whole from the beginning; the reader not till the end. The reader begins where the writer quits — with individual ideas. But the writer must be conscious of the interpreting process of the reader; else the writer cannot economize and stimulate the mental energies in that process. The first thing the writer needs to know, therefore, is the mental process of interpreting the language of discourse. Only such knowledge can enable the writer to move with ease