« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
excellencies rest not on taste, but on sense; and every sensible man may, if he chooses, possess
A few remarks concerning metaphor may not be wholly without utility. A great part of language is, of necessity, metaphoric, and therefore we cannot reasonably interdict figurative expression. Whether a better system of mental intercommunication might not be invented is a fair question for consideration; but that which we now employ is essentially metaphoric; and perhaps more logical error, or metaphysical absurdity, results from mistaking figurative for literal phraseology, than from the injudicious use of metaphors. All, therefore, that can be reasonably insisted on, is a judicious use of figurative language; and the present rhetorical mania for metaphor renders such discretion peculiarly necessary.*
The following suggestions, perhaps, deserve the attention of young composers:
Never employ metaphor for the sake of metaphor, i. e. never adopt a figurative except when it evidently expresses your meaning more effectually than a literal mode of expression. The converse of
* Probably the metaphoric mania is at the height, and that a reaction will soon commence in favour of literal simplicity; such as that which followed the figurative era of Jeremy Taylor. No rage lasts long. The rhetorical taste of a people is ever vibrating from one extreme to another. Though the imagination predominates over the understanding, the cultivated mind is at last surfeited with imagery.
this seems the rule adopted by many fashionable littérateurs. They appear never to employ plain unmetaphoric diction, but when they cannot conveniently avoid it: they are always making an effort to produce effect, or to display their genius: their main object is to surprise or astonish by the novelty and brilliancy of their imagery: in plainer terms, their chief intention is to show how clever they are at getting up metaphors. Such being the childish purpose (for there is as much dignity or utility in blowing bubbles) of authors and orators, it is not wonderful that literature should exhibit wasteful profusion of idle and absurd figurative language. Take the following specimens from a work now before us: "Too agitated to still down his bitter and perturbed spirit to the tranquil pursuit of his art, the stingings of his lacerated and disappointed feelings found vent in a medium more adapted to give a rapid and ready expression to powerful emotion." "The answer of the poet, whose own feelings of misery come at once upon the canvas, is the very epic of melancholy discontentment—a discontentment engendered by the finest sensibility, blasted in its hopes and its efforts for ameliorating human sufferings and amending human institutions." "But that fatal pre-eminence which the lowly worship and the envious malign, gives only a finer faculty for suffering; and while it opens the sources of petty vexations and exalts the poignancy of the greater moral afflictions, it places its gifted victim at an im
ORTHOGRAPHY OR RIGHT SPELLING.
THE anomalousness of English spelling has long been a subject of general complaint; and, perhaps, the evil is now too inveterate to be remedied; or rather, it is probable, that those who could remedy the evil will not make the attempt. But we are unwilling to despair of improvement; and, with due deference, will offer some suggestions on the subject after presenting the rules of our present orthography.
Monosyllables ending with f, 1, or s, preceded by a single vowel, double the final consonant; as, staff, mill, pass, &c. The only exceptions are of, if, as, is, has, was, yes, his, this, has.
The only monosyllables ending with any other consonants which double the last letter are, add, butt, egg, odd, err, inn, and buzz.
The reduplication of f, 1, and s, is of (comparatively) recent adoption; and it was, probably, intended to indicate distinctions in pronunciation which do not now exist: staf, mil, &c, would certainly be simpler than staff, mill, &c.; and something is gained by discarding useless letters: but the above rule is sufficiently distinct and is soon learned.
Words ending with y preceded by a consonant,
form the plurals of nouns, the persons of verbs, by changing y into i: and when an additional syllable is assumed, y is changed into i; as spy, spies; I carry, thou carriest, he carrieth or carries; carried, carrier; happy, happier, happiest, happily, happi
The y is retained before ing, that i may not be doubled; as, carry, carrying; burry, burrying, &c.
But y preceded by a vowel in such instances as the above, is not changed; boy, boys; I cloy, he cloys, cloyed, &c.; except in lay, pay, and say; from which are formed laid, paid, and said.
The above is a bad rule, for, instead of answering any useful purpose, it renders spelling difficult. The y should either remain unchanged when it has been adopted, or it should be banished as superfluous. Why should we write carrier, happier, accompaniment, rather than carryer, happyer, accompanyment?
Words ending with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, and with the accent on the last syllable, double the consonant when another syllable is added beginning with a vowel; as, to abet, abetting, an abettor; to begin, a beginner; wit, witty; thin, thinnish, &c.
But if a diphthong precede or the accent be on the preceding syllable, the consonant is not doubled; as, to toil, toiling; to offer an offering; maid, maiden.
This rule is sufficiently distinct; but the following
examples are at variance with it: revel, revelling; jewel, jeweller; counsel, counsellor; travel, traveller; bigot, bigotted; worship, worshipped, worshipper. Such anomalies should be proscribed.
When able, ible, ing, ish, are added to a word ending in e, it is omitted in the spelling: as, blame, blamable, blaming; cure, curable, curing; sense, sensible; place, placing; lodge, lodging; slave, slavish; prude, prudish, &c.: not blameable, blameing, lodgeing, slaveish, &c.: but when the final e is immediately preceded by g and c soft, it is retained in connexion with able and ible: as, change, changeable; peace, peaceable; service, serviceable; charge, chargeable; not changable, peacable, servicable, chargable.
This is such a perplexing rule to learners and persons who have little opportunity of learning, that the converse of it would be more sensible, viz. that no letter be ever dropped or omitted.
Words terminating in double 1, drop one I when they are taken into composition: as, fully, fulness, fulfil, handful, dunghil, withal, also, chilblain, foretel, always, welcome, &c.: not fullly, fullness, fullfill, handfull, dunghill, withall, allso, chillblain, foretell, allways, wellcome, &c.
The reason of dropping an 1 seems to have been