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indulgence which belongs to an infir- through subtle variations that somemity rather than an error of the will, times aisguise the theme, sometimes we feel ashamed for the obstinate ob- fitfully reveal it, sometimes throw it tuseness of our country in regard to out tumultuously to the daylightone and the most effective of the Fine these and ten thousand forms of selfArts. It will be understood that we conflicting musical passion-what speak of music. In painting and in room could they find, what opening, sculpture it is now past disputing, that for utterance in so limited a field as if we are destined to inferiority at all, an air or song? A hunting-box, a it is an inferiority only to the Italians park-lodge, may have a forest grace and the ancient Greeks; an inferiority and the beauty of appropriateness ; which, if it were even sure to be per. but what if a man should match such manent, we share with all the other a bauble against the Pantheon, or malicious nations around us. On that against the minsters of York and head we are safe. And in the most Strasburg ? A repartee may by acci. majestic of the Fine Arts, in poetry, we dent be practically effective: it has have a clear and vast pre-eminence as been known to crush a party-scheme, regards all nations; no nation but our- and an oration of Cicero's, or of selves having equally succeeded in both Burke's, could have done no more : forms of the higher poetry, epic and but what judgment would match the tragic. Whilst of meditative or phi- two against each other as developments losophic poetry (Young's, Cowper's, of power ? Let him who finds the Wordsworth's,)—to say nothing of maximum of his musical gratification lyric-we may affirm what Quinc. in a song, be assured, by that one fact, tilian says justly of Roman satire— that his sensibility is rude and unde“ tota quidem nostra est." If, there. veloped. Yet exactly upon this level fore, in every mode of composition is the ordinary state of musical feeling through which the impassioned mind throughout Great Britain ; and the speaks, a nation has excelled its rivals, howling wilderness of the psalmody we cannot be allowed to suppose any in most parish churches of the land, general defect of sensibility as a cause countersigns the statement. There is, of obtuseness with regard to music. however, accumulated in London, So little, however, is the grandeur of more musical science than in any cathis divine art suspected amongst us pital of the world. This, gradually generally, that a man will write an diffused, will improve the feeling of essay deliberately for the purpose of the country. And, if it should fail to putting on record his own preference do so, in the worst case we have the of a song, to the most elaborate music satisfaction of knowing, through Jean of Mozart: he will glory in his shame; Jacques Rousseau, and by later eviand, though speaking in the character dences, that sink as we may below of one confessing to a weakness, will Italy and Germany in the sensibility evidently view himself in the light of to this divine art, we cannot go lower à candid man, laying bare a state of than France. Here, however, and in feeling which is natural and sound, this cherished obtuseness as to a plea. opposed to a class of false pretenders sure so important for human life, and who, whilst servile to rules of artists, at the head of the physico-intellectual in reality contradict their own musical pleasures, we find a second reason for instincts, and feel little or nothing of quarrelling with the civilisation of our what they profess. Strange that even country. At the summit of civilisation the analogy of other arts should not in other points, she is here yet unopen his
eyes to the delusion he is en- cultivated and savage. couraging! A song-an air-a tune, A third point is larger. Here (prothat is a short succession of notes re- perly speaking) our quarrel is co-exvolving rapidly upon itself, how could tensive with that general principle in that by possibility offer a field of com. England which tends in all things to pass sufficient for the development of set the matter above the manner, the great musical effects ? The prepara substance above the external show; tion pregnant with the future, the re- a principle noble in itself, but inevi. mote correspondence, the questions, tably wrong wherever the manner as it were, which to a deep musical blends inseparably with the substance. sense are asked in one passage, and This general tendency operates in answered in another; the iteration and many ways: but our own immediate ingemination of a given effect, moving purpose is concerned with it only so far as it operates upon style. In no have relied upon the same identical country upon earth, were it possible matter—the facts, for instance, of the to carry such a maxim into practical slave-trade--and one has turned this to effect, is it a more determinate ten- such good account by his arrangedency of the national mind to value ments, by his modes of vivifying dry the matter of a book not only as statements, by his arts of illustration, paramount to the manner, but even as by his science of connecting things distinct from it, and as capable of a se- with human feeling, that he has left parate insulation. What first gave a his hearers in convulsions of passion ; shock to such a tendency must have whilst the other shall have used every been the unwilling and mysterious tittle of the same matter without elicitsense—that in some cases, the matter ing one scintillation of sympathy, and the manner were so inextricably without leaving behind one distinct interwoven, as not to admit of this impression in the memory, or planting coarse bisection. The one was em- one murmur in the heart. bedded, entangled, and interfased In proportion, therefore, as the through the other in a way which bade English people have been placed for defiance to such gross mechanical two centuries and a quarter (i. e. separations. But the tendency to since the latter decennium of James the view the two elements as in a separa
First's reign) under a constant expeble relation still predominates ; and, rience of popular eloquence thrown as a consequence, the tendency to into all channels of social life, they undervalue the accomplishment of must have had peculiar occasion to style. Do we mean that the English, feel the effects of style. But to feel as a literary nation, are practically is not to feel consciously. Many a less sensible of the effects of a man is charmed by one cause who beautiful style ? Not at all. Nobody ascribes the effect to another. Many can be insensible to these effects. a man is fascinated by the artifices of And, upon a known fact of history, composition, who fancies that it is the viz., the exclusive cultivation of po. subject which has operated so potentpular oratory in England throughout ly.
ly. And even for the subtlest of the 17th and 18th centuries, we might philosophers who keeps in mind the presume a peculiar and exalted sense interpenetration of the style and the of style amongst ourselves. Until matter, it would be as difficult to disthe French Revolution, no nation of tribute the true proportion of their Christendom except England had any joint action, as, with regard to the earpractical experience of popular rheto- liest rays of the dawn, it would be to ric; any deliberative eloquence, for say how much of the beauty lay in the instance ; any forensic eloquence that heavenly light which chased away the was made public; any democratic elo- darkness—how much in the rosy coquence of the hustings; or any form lour which that light entangled. whatever of public rhetoric beyond Easily, therefore, it may have hapthat of the pulpit. Through two cen- pened, that, under the
constant action turies at least, no nation could have and practical effects of style, a nation been so constantly reminded of the may have failed to notice the cause as powers for good and evil which belong the cause. And, besides the disturb. to style. Often it must have happen- ing forces which mislead the judgment ed, to the mortification or joy of mul- of the auditor in such a case, there are titudes, that one man out of windy other disturbing forces which modify nothings has constructed an over. the practice of the speaker. That is whelming appeal to the passions of his good rhetoric for the hustings which bearers, whilst another has thrown is bad for a book. Even for the away the weightiest cause by his man. highest forms of popular eloquence, ner of treating it. Neither let it be the laws of style vary much from the said, that this might not arise from general standard. In the senate, and differences of style, but because the for the same reason in a newspaper, triumphant demagogue made use of it is a virtue to reiterate your meanfictions, and, therefore, that his tri. ing : tautology becomes a merit: vaumph was still obtained by means of riation of the words, with a substantial his matter, however hollow that mat. identity of the sense and dilution of ter might have proved upon investiga- the truth, is oftentimes a necessity. A tion. That case, also, is a possible man who should content himself with case; but often enough two orators a single condensed enunciation of a
perplexed doctrine, would be a mad. habit of hearing these two great enman and a felo-de-se, as respected his gines daily worked for purposes inreliance upon that doctrine. Like teresting to themselves as citizens, and boys who are throwing the sun's rays sufficiently intelligible to command into the eyes of a mob by means of a their willing attention. The English mirror, you must shift your lights and amongst modern nations have had the vibrate your reflexions at every pos. same advantages, allowance being sible angle, if you would agitate the made for the much less intense con. popular mind extensively. Every centration of the audience. In the mode of intellectual communication ancient republics it was always the has its 'separate strength and separate same city; and, therefore, the same weakness ; its peculiar embarrass. audience, except in so far as it was ments, compensated by peculiar re- spread through many generations.
It is the advantage of a This has been otherwise in England ; book, that you can return to the past and yet, by newspaper reports, any page if any thing in the present de- great effect in one assize town, or pends upon it. But, return being im- electoral town, has been propagated possible in the case of a spoken ha- to the rest of the empire, through rangue, where each sentence perishes the eighteenth and the present century. as it is born, both the speaker and the But all this, and the continual exemhearer become aware of a mutual inte. plification of style as a great agency rest in a much looser style, and a per- for democratic effect, have not availed petual dispensation from the severities to win a sufficient practical respect, in of abstract discussion. It is for the England, for the arts of composition benefit of both, that the weightier as essential to authorship. And the propositions should be detained before reason is, because, in the first place, the eye a good deal longer than the from the intertexture of style and mat. chastity of taste or the austerity of ter, from the impossibility that the one logic would tolerate in a book. Time should affect them otherwise than in must be given for the intellect to eddy connexion with the other, it has been about a truth, and to appropriate its natural for an audience to charge on bearings. There is a sort of previous the superior agent what often belonged lubrication, such as the boa-constric. to the lower. This in the first place; tor applies to any subject of digestion, and, secondly, because the modes of which is requisite to familiarize the style appropriate to popular eloquence mind with a startling or a complex being essentially different from those of novelty. And this is obtained for the written composition, any possible ex. intellect by varying the modes of pre- perience on the hustings, or in the senting ito--now putting it directly be- senate, would pro tanto tend rather to fore the eye, now obliquely, now in disqualify the mind for appreciating an abstract shape, now in the concrete; the more chaste and more elaborate all which being the proper technical qualities of style fitted for books; and discipline for dealing with such cases, thus a real advantage of the English ought no longer to be viewed as a li. in one direction has been neutralized centious mode of style, but as the just by two causes in another. style in respect of those licentious Generally and ultimately, it is cercircumstances. And the true art for tain, that our British disregard or in. such popular display is to contrive adequate appreciation of style, though the best forms for appearing to say a very lamentable fault, has had its something new, when in reality you origin in the manlinesss of the British are but echoing yourself; to break character; in the sincerity and directup massy chords into running vari. ness of the British taste ; in the prins ations; and to mask, by slight differ- ciple of “ esse quam videri,” which ences in the manner, a virtual iden- might be taken as the key to much in tity in the substance.
our manner, much in the philosophy of We have been illustrating a twofold our lives; and finally, in that same neutralizing effect applied to the ad. love for the practical and the tangible vantages, otherwise enjoyed by the which has so memorably governed the English people, for appreciating the course of our higher speculations forms of style. What was it that made from Bacon to Newton. But, whatthe populace of Athens and of Rome ever may have been the origin of this so sensible to the force of rhetoric and most faulty habit, whatever mixed to the magic of language? It was the causes now support it, beyond all
question it is, that such a habit of dis- pass, that what was held true of regard or of slight regard applied to Rome in two separate ages by two all the arts of composition does exist great rhetoricians, and of Constanin the most painful extent, and is de- tinople in an age long posterior, tected by a practised eye in every page may now be affirmed of England: the of almost every book that is published. idiom of our language, the mother
If you could look any where with a tongue, survives only amongst our right to expect continual illustrations women and children ; not, Heaven of what is good in the manifold quali- knows, amongst our women who write ties of style, it should reasonably be books-they are often painfully conamongst our professional authors; spicuous for all that disfigures author. but as a body, they are distinguished ship; but amongst well-educated by the most absolute carelessness in women not professionally given to this respect. Whether in the choice literature. Cicero and Quinctilian, of words and idioms, or in the con- each for his own generation, ascribed struction of their sentences, it is not sometbing of the same pre-eminence possible to conceive the principle of to the noble matrons of Rome ; and lazy indifference carried to a more re- more than one writer of the lower volting extremity. Proof lies before empire has recorded of Byzantium, you, spread out upon every page, that that in the nurseries of that city was no excess of awkwardness, or of in- found the last home for the purity of olegance, or of unrhythmical cadence, the ancient Greek. No doubt it might is so rated in the tariff of faults as to have been found also amongst the in. balance, in the writer's estimate, the numerable mobof that haughty metrotrouble of remoulding a clause, of in- polis, but stained with corruptions and terpolating a phrase, or even of strik. vulgar abbreviations. Or wherever ing the pen through a superfluous it might lurk, assuredly it was not word. In our own experience it has amongst the noble, the officials, or the happened, that we have known an courtiers ; else it was impossible that author so laudably fastidious in this such a master of affectation as Nicetas subtle art, as to bave recast one chap Choniates, for instance, should have ter of a series no less than seventeen found toleration. But the rationale times; so difficult was the ideal or of this matter lies in a small compass : model of excellence which he kept be why are the local names, whenever fore his mind ; so indefatigable was his they have resulted from the general labour for mounting to the level of good sense of a country, faithful to that ideal. Whereas, on the other the local truth, grave, and unaffected ? hand, with regard to a large majority Simply because they are not inven. of the writers now carrying forward tions of any active faculty, but mere the literature of the country from the passive depositions from a real imlast generation to the next, the evi. pression upon the mind. On the dence is perpetual—not so much that other hand, wherever there is an amthey rest satisfied with their own ran- bitious principle set in motion for dom preconceptions of each clause or name-inventing, there it is sure to tersentence, as that they never trouble mipate in something monstrous and themselves to form any such precon- fanciful. Women offend in such cases ceptions. Whatever words tumble even more than men; because more of out under the blindest accidents of the sentiment or romance will mingle with moment, those are the words re- the names they impose. Sailors again tained; whatever sweep is impressed crr in an opposite spirit: there is no by chance upon the motion of a period, affectation in their names, but there is that is the arrangement ratified. To too painful an effort after ludicrous fancy that men thus determinately allusions to the gravities of their nacareless as to the grosser elements of tive land- Big Wig Island,' or the style would pause to survey distant Bishop and his Clerks :' or the name proportions, or to adjust any more de- becomes a memento of real incidents, licate symmetries of good composition, but too casual and personal to merit would be visionary. As to the links this lasting record of a name, such as of connexion, the transitions, and the Point Farewell, or Cape Turn-again. many other functions of logic in good This fault applies to many of the Yanwriting, things are come to such a kee* names, and to many more in the
• “Yankee names." — Foreigners in America subject themselves to a perpetual misin
southern and western states of North purity or simplicity of diction, if at America, where the earliest popula- any cost of either they can win a spetion has usually been of a less reli- cial attention to themselves ? Now, gious character; and, most of all, it the great body of women are under no applies to the names of the back set- such unhappy bias. If they happen tlements. These people live under in- to move in polished circles, or have fluences the most opposite to those of received a tolerable education, they false refinement: coarse necessities, will speak their native language of elementary features of peril or em- necessity with truth and simplicity. barrassment, primary aspects of savage And supposing them not to be profesnature, compose the scenery of their sional writers, (as so small a proporthoughts; and these are reflected by tion can be, even in France or Engtheir names. Dismal Swamp express. land,) there is always something in the es a condition of unreclaimed nature, situation of women which secures a which must disappear with growing fidelity to the idiom. From the greatcivilisation. Big Bone Lick tells a tale er excitability of females, and the ofcruelty that cannot often be repeated. superior vivacity of their feelings, Buffaloes, like all cattle, derive medi- they will be liable to far more irritacinal benefit from salt; they come in tions from wounded sensibilities. It droves for a thousand miles to lick the is for such occasions chiefly that they masses of rock salt. The new settlers seek to be effective in their language. observing this, lie in ambush to sur- Now, there is not in the world so prise them : twenty-five thousand certain a guarantee for pure idiomatic noble animals, in one instance, were diction, without tricks or affectation, massacred for their hides. In the follow- a case of genuine excitement. ing year the usual crowds advanced; Real situations are always pledges of but the first who snuffed the tainted a real natural language. It is in air wheeled round, bellowed, and “re- counterfeit passion, in the mimical coiled” far into his native woods. situations of novels, or in poems that Meantime the large bones remain to are efforts of ingenuity, and no attest the extent of the merciless mas- ebullitions of absolute unsimulated
Here, as in all cases, there is feeling, that female writers endeavour a truth expressed ; but again too to sustain their own jaded sensibility, casual and special. Besides that, or to reinforce the languishing interfrom contempt of elegance, or from est of their readers by extravagances defect of art, the names resemble the of language. No woman in this world, seafaring nomenclature in being too under a movement of resentment from rudely compounded.
a false accusation, or from jealousy, or As with the imposition of names, from confidence betrayed, ever was at 80 with the use of the existing lan- leisure to practise vagaries of caprice guage, most classes stand between in the management of her mother the pressure of two extremes--of tongue; strength of real feeling shuts coarseness, of carelessness, of imper- out all temptation to the affectation fect art, on the one hand, of spurious of false feeling. refinement and fantastic ambition Hence the purity of the female Byupon the other. Authors have always zantine Greek. Such caprices as they been a dangerous class for any lan- had took some other course, and found guage. Amongst the myriads who some other vent than through their are prompted to authorship by the mother tongue. Hence, also, the pucoarse love of reputation, or by the rity of female English. Would you nobler craving for sympathy, there desire at this day to read our noble will always be thousands seeking dis- language in its native beauty, pictutinctions through novelties of diction. resque from idiomatic propriety, racy Hopeless of any audience through in its phraseology, delicate yet sinewy mere weight of matter, they will turn in its composition-steal the mail for their last resource to such tricks bags, and break open all the letters in of innovation as they can bring to bear female handwriting. Three out of four upon language. What care they for will have been written by that class of
terpretation by misapplying this term. “ Yankee,” in the American use, does not mean a citizen of the United States as opposed to a foreigner, but a citizen of the Northern New England States (Massachusetts, Connecticut, &c.) opposed to a Virginian, a Kentuckian, &c.