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not often taken ; and it is generally allowed, though few set about to explain the reason why, that a good idiomatic English style is rare in these days, and that rivals to Shakespeare, to Bacon, or to Jeremy Taylor are not to be found. Before closing this part of the subject, it may be well to give some proof that my observations on the use of our forefathers' language are well founded, and that our best writers make such large use of it, that the goodness of a style may almost be measured by the proportion of words of Teutonic derivation which it contains. In the following examples all the words not belonging to the Teutonic family are marked in italics.
TRANSLATORS OF THE BIBLE.
"And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon; for they heard that they should eat bread there. And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health; he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance."— Genesis,
"The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked,
and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, Is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet, they breaK forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon; saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming. It stirrelh up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak, and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we ?—art thou become like unto us ?"—Isaiah.
"This is the air, that is the glorious sun,
"Take thy face hence.—Seyton! I am sick at heart
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not." Macbeth.
"With thee conversing, I forget all time,
"Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine;
BISHOP JER. TAYLOR.
"And after all this add a continual, a fervent, a hearty, a never-ceasing prayer for thy children; ever remembering, when they beg a blessing, that God hath put much of their fortune into your hands, and a transient, formal 'God bless you,' will not outweigh the load of a great vice, and the curse that scatters from thee by virtual contact, and by the channels of relation, if thou be a vicious person. Nothing can issue from thy fountain but bitter waters."—Sermon on the entail of curses cut off.
"But there are a great many despisers; all they c
that live in their sins, they that have more blessings than they can reckon hours in their lives, that are courted by the Divine favour, and wooed to salvation, as if mankind were to give and not to receive so great a blessing; all they that answer not to so friendly summons, they are despisers of God's mercies."
Serm. God's method in curing sinners.
"Wisdom is a fox, who after long hunting will at last cost you the pains to dig out. Tis a cheese, which by how much the richer, has the thicker, the homelier, and the coarser coat, and whereof to a judicious palate, the maggots are the best. 'Tis a sack posset, wherein the deeper you go, you will find it the sweeter. But then, lastly, 'tis a nut, which, unless you choose with judgment, may cost you a tooth, and pay you with nothing but a worm."
"It is the great art, and secret of Christianity, if I may use the phrase, to manage our actions so to the best advantage, and direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do may turn to account at that great Day when every thing we have done will be set before us. In order to give this consideration its full weight, we may cast all our actions under the division of such as are in themselves either good, evil, or indifferent. If we divide our intentions after the same manner, and consider them with regard to our actions, we may discover that great art and secret of religion which I have here mentioned."*—Spectator.
"Shut, shut the door, good John ! fatigued, I said
"Day glimmers o'er the dying and the dead,
* It may be noticed here, that almost all of the words of this extract which are not Teutonic are NormanFrench. The use of this class of words will be found characteristic of Addison. They form an elegant, but nut a forcible style.