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Another rule of more importance is, that arguments from cause to effect, or those which account for what is asserted in the leading proposition, supposing it to be true, should precede those of a stronger or more convincing kind, such as arguments from testimony or induction. Even this rule, however, is not without its exceptions.
An inquiry of some importance pertaining to arrangement, is, whether the proposition to be supported, should in all cases precede the proof, or whether the proof should precede the formal announcement of the proposition. Men usually assert their opinions, and then assign the reasons on which they are founded, and this, without doubt, is the best arrangement, unless special reasons exist for adopting some other. If what is asserted is likely, either from its being novel, or uncommon, or from its being opposed to the prejudices of the reader, to disaffect him, and to prevent his due consideration of the arguments brought forward, it is better to depart from the general rule, and to defer the formal statement of the proposition maintained to the close.
Another inquiry relates to the proper place for introducing the refutation of objections. On this point, the general rale is given, that objections should be considered near the commencement of a composition. In this way, the prejudices of opposers may be eradicated, and their minds left free to give full attention and due weight to the arguments advanced. Often, however, it is necessary to bring forward some views of the subject, preparatory to the examination of objections; in these instances, their refutation is found in the midst, or deferred to the close of the composition.
Transitions from one part of a composition to another, are also important objects of attention. The general direc
tion is often given, that transitions be natural and easy. Ву this it is meant, that they be in agreement with the common modes of associating the thoughts. In argumentative writings, where the different parts are connected by a common reference to some particular point, which they are designed to establish, this common relationship will be sufficient to prevent the transition from one argument to another from appearing unnatural and abrupt. Still, as has been intimated, there may be skill shown in the arrangement of the arguments, and one may appear to arise happily from another. But in writings which are not argumentative, much skill is often displayed in the transitions. With the design of exhibiting some happy instances of transitions, and thus showing what is meant by their being natural and easy, I shall notice those in Goldsmith's Traveller, to which these epithets are often applied. His description of Italy closes with the mention of its inhabitants, feeble and degraded, pleased with low delights and the sports of children. The transition to the Swiss is thus made;
My soul, turn from them; turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display.. The principle on which the transition is here made, is that of contrast. And since the mind is often wont to look at objects as opposed to each other, it naturally, in this way, passes from the Italians to the Swiss. The transition from Switzerland to France is thus made;
Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast
I turn — and France displays her bright domain.
depends in part on the principle of contrast, but seems more immediately to rest on the accidental mention of the words kinder sky. Such accidental associations are frequent, especially in familiar intercourse, and in the easy flow of the thoughts; and though they would not be approved in the grave discussion of a subject, in a descriptive epistle, which is the nature of the production we are examining, they strike us favorably.
Resemblance, cause and effect, contiguity as to time or place, may be mentioned as other principles of association on which transitions are often easily made.
Conclusion. If it be of importance, that the attention be arrested at first by a well written introduction, and sustained by well connected and increasingly important arguments, it will be readily allowed, that a happy conclusion is no less desirable. It is then that a decision is about to be made, and the mind of the readers should be left impressed with a favorable opinion of the writer, and with the justness and truth of what has been told him. Here then the writer should exert all his skill, and put forth all his powers.
As an example of a well executed conclusion, the following passage, which is found at the close of an eulogy on Adams and Jefferson, may be cited;
" Their statues are men; living, feeling, intelligent, adoring man, bearing the image of his Maker; having the impress of divinity. Their monuments are the everlasting hills which they have clothed with verdure - their praises are sounds of health and joy, in vallies which they have made fruitful to them incense daily rises, in the perfumes of fragrant fields, which they have spread with cultivation — fair cities proclaim their glory gorgeous ma ons speak their munificence - their names are inscribed on the goodly habitations of men ; and on those hallowed temples of God, whose spires ever point to the heaven, which, we trust, has received them.”
Narrative and Descriptive Writing. The directions given in this chapter on the management of a subject, refer principally to argumentátive composition. We are not to expect in narrative writings the regular divisions of a discourse, as in didactic and argumentative productions. Still there will be some prominent or leading event, and the different parts of the narrative will tend to. exhibit it fully and clearly. These parts will be the circumstances of the event, such as led to it, such as accompanied it, or such as follow from it; and the writer will dwell upon them in proportion to their importance and connexion with his main design. Occasional reflections may also be made, and inferences drawn, and whatever can illustrate, or throw an interest around the principal event, will be introduced. As to transitions, they will often depend on the order of occurrences in the succession of time, or as one occurrence is accounted to be the cause of another. (Ex. iv.
In descriptive writing, it is the purpose of the writer, as has been stated, to place before the view of his readers some object or scene. In its design, it nearly resembles both historical and landscape painting, and there is a resemblance, too, in the particulars on which the successful exertion of each depends. A happy selection of circumstances is of importance. A few prominent traits, well chosen, and strongly exhibited, will produce a much better effect, than the enumeration of many particulars. In this kind of writing, much is found, which is designed to assist the distinctness of the mind's conception, and when the writer dwells on different parts, it is with this purpose.
The transitions, as in argumentative writings, are often abrupt, and it is thought sufficient connexion, that the different parts tend to the same end. The narrative and descriptive are often found united. (Ex. v.)
Were men simply intellectual beings, and were it the only design of the writer to convey instruction to his readers, what has been said in the preceding chapter, would be all that is required, preparatory to the consideration of the qualities of a good style. But men have imagination, and are susceptible of emotions; and it is often the purpose of the writer, to cause the imagination to be exercised, and emotions of various kinds to be excited. To give pleasure in this way, may be the immediate object of the writer, or he may seek to please his readers, merely to arrest their attention, increase the distinctness of their views, and favorably incline' them to the reception of the opinions he communicates.
From this statement, the definite object of this and the following chapter may be learnt. . It is to aid in judging of whatever is thus addressed to the imagination in connexion with certain emotions of which men are susceptible. To direct in all that thus pertains to the imagination and these emotions, is regarded as the office of Taste. Hence the nature of taste in general will first be considered. This will be followed by some account of what is implied by a literary taste, including an enumeration of those different properties in literary productions which are objects of its attention,