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inordinately long, his connectives are usually extremely simple. One favourite and much abused conjunction is his general link. How exquisite is the harmony, as well as the conception of the following passage! The close is music itself: So much as moments are exceeded by eternity, and the sighing of a man by the joys of an angel, and a salutary frown by the light of God's countenance, a few frowns by the infinite and eternal hallelujahs, so much are the sorrows of the godly to be undervalued in respect of what is deposited for them in the treasures of eternity. Their sorrows can die, but so cannot their joys. And if the blessed martyrs and confessors were asked concerning their past sufferings and their present rest, and the joys of their certain expectation, you should hear them glory in nothing but in the mercies of God, and in the cross of the Lord Jesus. Every chain is a ray of light, and every prison is a palace, and every loss is the purchase of a kingdom, and every affront in the cause of God is an eternal honour, and every day of sorrow is a thousand years of comfort, multiplied with a never ceasing numeration, — days without night, joys without sorrow, sanctity without sin, charity without stain, possession without fear, society without envying, communication of joys without lessening; and they shall dwell in a blessed country, where an enemy never entered, and from whence a friend never went away.'
With the Restoration (1660) commenced a striking series of changes in English construction and style, terminating at the commencement of the next century in those forms, usages, and laws of composition, which with very limited and transient exceptions have prevailed ever since. Immediately after the accession of Charles II., the periodic style began to give way,
and a more simple structure to take its place; the license of coining Latin derivatives also ceased: indeed, our language was substantially the same as it is at present. What was required was to file away asperities, to throw out redundances, to refine barbarisms, to bring into greater accordance with the analogies of the language words still half exotic in form, to refine what was worthy of being refined, and to reject the ore which would not pay for the cost of smelting.
The first changes, however, which the Restoration brought with it, were such as might well make a thoughtful student of the language question whether they would not deteriorate rather than benefit it; whether, whatever might be the defects of style then prevalent, the remedy would not prove worse than the disease.
At first it seemed, as if the language had but exchanged one set of hazards for another, - or rather, as if causes of depravation which had pretty well reached their limit, and to which the language had in a measure adapted itself, were now to be followed by others far more active for mischief, and having the powerful aids of novelty and fashion in their favour. The stream of classical derivatives had been well nigh dried up; and if here and there a pedant still persisted in introducing them, there were no longer any prevailing tendencies that way. One of the new dangers, though not the chief, was that of a flood of affected Gallicisms, with which the young monarch and his merry court naturally came stored, and which they seemed as willing to impart to our barbarous countrymen, as those vices which had the same source, and in which they were, unhappily, equally proficient. This class of innovations at first seemed
fraught with far greater perils than could attend a too profuse and pedantic resort to the classical languages among recluse scholars. They were sanctioned by the authority and example of a young and, for a time, highly popular monarch; by the influence of a court half French in taste and associations; and what was quite as mischievous, by the pretension to higher polish and gentility, the notion that gentlemen and ladies ought thus to speak; a notion which, if it once fairly takes possession of the heads of said gentlemen and ladies, is quite sufficient to reconcile them to the practice of any absurdity. Discourses accordingly were garnished with a trimming of French terms and phrases; and happy, doubtless, was the fop, who, like the fops of all other generations, could most astonish his country neighbours by new names for objects which they had been accustomed to call all their lives. by plain English ones, and give seeming substance to his inanities of thought by clothing them in a fantastic frippery of affected Gallicisms. In a word, the language appeared still inclined for a masquerade, only in a new dress, and that not even so becoming as the former one. If our older authors sought, somewhat too assiduously, to indue themselves in the grave and solemn vesture of the ancients, their successors were determined that French costume should now be all the vogue. But the danger passed away. Those causes which have already been represented as rendering our language impregnable even to a foreign victor, more than sufficed to secure it against this new peril. The innovations, if for a time extensive, were extensive only within the precincts of the court, and among that class of people to whom court influence is as the breath of their nostrils; and the majority of them were not permanent even there.
In the mean time some of the words thus introduced really became serviceable; and in spite of the ridicule with which they were treated, stood firm and have obtained a permanent footing. It is curious that many of the foreign terms and affected phrases with which Dryden, in one of his plays, has interlarded the discourse of one of his fine ladies, by way of satire on the prevailing practice in the circles of fashion, have received the sanction of usage, and are now parts of the language. The gradual introduction and ultimate naturalisation of foreign terms, at first ridiculed and satirised, often afford us a striking proof of the precarious influence even of the most enlightened criticisms sustained by the best reasons. We have another striking proof of this in the following century, when authors no less celebrated than Swift and Addison set themselves against certain innovations, and were only partially successful. Speaking of sundry long polysyllabic words which had been introduced in the course of the war,' The Tatler (No. 230.) says, 'if they attack us too frequently, we shall certainly put them to flight and cut off their rear.' 'Every one of them,' remarks D'Israeli, ‘still keep their ground.'
But it was not in an importation of Gallicisms that the chief danger was to be apprehended. The periodic style as well as Latinistic diction of the preceding generation had been abandoned — and very properly so; but it now seemed too probable that our authors would fall into an opposite extreme, and adopt a vulgarised style; free, it is true, from the stiffness and formality of that of their predecessors, but without one particle of its majesty and grandeur; without even any of the decorum which ought to belong to all styles. The colloquialisms of everyday speech were
extravagantly affected; colloquialisms, often pardonable enough elsewhere, but offensive in literature. The writers of that day weary and disgust us with their perpetual use of vulgar contractions and abbreviations, with their 'tis' and 'tisnt,' with their 'aints' and 'donts,' and 'wonts' and 'shants;' with their by ems' and 'at ems,' and many other affected imitations of the freedom of ordinary speech.* Seeking ease and nature, as they thought, they forgot dignity and decorum; or rather, like upstarts assuming a false gentility, they mistook vulgarity for ease, and impudence for freedom. The fault particularly prevails in the political writings of that age; writings, by the way, which form no inconsiderable portion of its literature. None was more signally guilty of it than Roger L'Estrange, known chiefly now, and that only obscurely, by his translations; better known then, as a most voluminous and virulent political pamphleteer. A few flowers gathered from a single paragraph will be more than sufficient to illustrate his distinctive peculiarities. It is not without reason that Coleridge observes that the 'cavalier slang' of L'Estrange, and his contemporary party writers, infected even the divines of the reign of Charles II.
*This slipshod style is excellently well mimicked in the abovementioned number of the Tatler.
.She was easily put off the hooks, and monstrous hard to be pleased again; she was as bad, 'tis true, as bad might well be, and yet Xanthus had a kind of hankering for her The man was willing to make the best of a hard Come, come, master, says Esop, pluck up a a project in my noddle that shall bring
good heart, for I have
back my mistress, &c. What does my Esop but away imme
This way of proceeding set
And for that bout all was well
the whole town agog.