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You began with betraying the people: you conclude with betraying the king. - JUNIUS.
New things are made familiar, and familiar things are made SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Lord Byron's verse glows like a flame, consuming everything in its way; Sir Walter Scott's glides like a river, — clear, gentle, harmless. HAZLITT.
Those are disjointed stones; these are an elaborate and magnificent structure. Those are raw material in its earliest stage; these are co-ordinated, and in co-ordination modified by the hand of a master. WILLIAM EWART GLADSTOne.
I never could understand why any one should be ashamed to confess his knowledge of what he does know, or his ignorance of what he does not know. -E. A. FREEMAN.
There is no place where the young are more gladly conscious of their youth, or the old better contented with their age. STEVENSON.
Climax. Force may often be gained by so framing a sentence that it moves from the less to the more important.
The room was furnished in a quiet, sombre way.
The room was furnished in a sombre, quiet way.
After the reader learns that the room is "sombre," he does not need to be told that it is "quiet;" for "sombre" implies that, and more. "Quiet, sombre," is therefore the order prescribed by force.
He showed much emotion, and at last lost control of himself.
He lost control of himself and showed much emotion.
When a reader learns that a man has "lost control of himself," he does not need to be told that he has shown "much emotion."
Evidently, the painting is not a landscape with a tree in it, but this particular tree in a landscape.
The painting is evidently this particular tree in a landscape, not a landscape with a tree in it.
One fault in this sentence as originally written is the sin against clearness caused by putting "evidently ". which is meant to qualify both clauses-in a place where it seems to qualify the first clause only.
A more serious fault is the sin against force caused by telling what the painting is the more interesting and important fact-before telling what it is not. The order which moves from a negative to a positive assertion is the forcible order.
Other examples are
That event would usher in, not a lull, but a crisis, a series of crises.
It requires, not the construction of new apparatus, but only an adjustment of wheels.
Hazlitt's essays should be valued, not as steady instruction, but as suggestive points of departure; not as a study lamp, but as brilliant flashes of light.
That event would usher in a crisis, a series of crises, and certainly not a lull.
It requires only an adjustment of wheels and not the construction of new apparatus.
Hazlitt's essays should be valued as brilliant flashes of light, not as a study lamp; as suggestive points of departure, not as steady instruction.
The last sentence as originally written is weak in two ways. It puts the more important fact before the less important, and the figurative expression before the literal. The forcible order is that which moves from the less to the more important, and from the words which convey the writer's meaning to those which illustrate or enforce it. Sentences arranged in this manner (like the rounds of a ladder when set up) are said to make a CLIMAX.
Other examples are
Each leaf stood away from its neighbor, as in a conventional design; each was arranged in the order in which it might have been left by some too particular old maid.
When he says that he would make any sacrifice to secure Lucie's happiness, we feel that he is sincere; and when Lucie weeps over this wreck of a noble man, we do not see the printed page so distinctly as we might.
To relieve the sadness of the scene no sign of life appeared; all was deserted, desolate, dead.
Each leaf was arranged in the order that some too particular old maid might have left it; each stood away from its neighbor as in a conventional design.
When Lucie weeps over this wreck of a noble man we do not see the printed page as distinctly as we might and when he says that he would make any sacrifice to secure her happiness we feel that he means it.
All seemed deserted, dead, and desolate, no sign of life appeared to relieve the sadness of the scene.
The best way to learn how to apply with effect the principle of the climax is to study it in the works of good authors. For example,
A woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is her world; it is there her ambition strives for empire - it is there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies on adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless for it is a bankruptcy of the heart. - WASHINGTON IRVING.
Thus man passes away; his name perishes from record and recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin. — WASHINGTON IRVING.
He was made Secretary of the Treasury; and how he fulfilled the duties of such a place at such a time, the whole country perceived with delight, and the whole world saw with admiration. He smote the rock of the national resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of the Public Credit,
and it sprung upon its feet. The fabled birth of Minerva from the brain of Jove was hardly more sudden or more perfect than the financial system of the United States, as it burst forth from the conceptions of Alexander Hamilton. — DANIEL WEBSTER.
It would be still more unnatural for us, therefore, than for others, to contemplate with unaffected minds that interesting, I may say that most touching and pathetic scene, when the great discoverer of America stood on the deck of his shattered bark, the shades of night falling on the sea, yet no man sleeping; tossed on the billows of an unknown ocean, yet the stronger billows of alternate hope and despair tossing his own troubled thoughts; extending forward his harassed frame, straining westward his anxious and eager eyes, till Heaven at last granted him a moment of rapture and ecstasy, in blessing his vision with the sight of the unknown world. DANIEL WEBSTer.
Close upon this series of triumphs came a series of disasters, such as would have blighted the fame and broken the heart of almost any other commander. Yet Frederic, in the midst of his calamities, was still an object of admiration to his subjects, his allies, and his enemies. Overwhelmed by adversity, sick of life, he still maintained the contest, greater in defeat, in flight, and in what seemed hopeless ruin, than on the fields of his proudest victories. — T. B. MACAULAY.
The last passage presents an excellent example of climax combined with antithesis.
In the CHOICE, in the NUMBER, and in the ORDER of words in a sentence, aim at FORCE.
IMPORTANCE OF EASE
NEXT in importance to clearness and force comes that quality, or assemblage of qualities, which forbids harsh, awkward, or coarse expressions, and which makes a sentence easy and agreeable reading. This quality has been called by different names: e. g., beauty, music, harmony, euphony, smoothness, grace, elegance, and ease. Of these terms, no one of which covers the whole ground, ease is, perhaps, the best for our purpose; for it implies the absence of everything that might increase the difficulty of communication between writer and reader. In this sense, it is within the reach of any one who will take pains to strike out of his composition every word that jars on the ear or the taste, and to remodel every sentence that says awkwardly what may be said with smoothness, if not with grace.
From most of us, the attainment of ease in this limited sense is all that can reasonably be expected; but there is another and a higher sense in which ease belongs to the masters of expression. When we say that Goldsmith, Irving, and Cardinal Newman are noted for ease, we mean that they are noted not only for the absence of everything that would interfere with the reader's comfort, but also for the presence of qualities that contribute to his pleasure: we mean very much what we mean when we say of an agreeable woman that her manner is distinguished by ease. Their writings, like her demeanor, have that nameless