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tions and for groups of particulars and details. Notice this in the following paragraphs.
[Topic] Our arts are happy hits. [Explanation by illustration] We are like the musician on the lake, whose melody is sweeter than he knows, or like a traveller, surprised by a mountain echo, whose trivial word returns to him in romantic thunders.-EMERSON: Essay on Art.
[Topic] I am not going to write the history of La Pucelle; [Explanation] to do this, or even circumstantially to report the history of her persecution and bitter death, of her struggle with false witnesses and with ensnaring judges, it would be necessary to have before us all the documents, and therefore the collection only now forthcoming in Paris. [Transition] But my purpose is narrower. [Explanation] There have been great thinkers, disdaining the careless judgments of contemporaries, who have thrown themselves boldly on the judgment of a far posterity, that should have had time to review, to ponder, to compare. There have been great actors on the stage of tragic humanity that might, with the same depth of confidence, have appealed from the levity of compatriot friends - too heartless for the sublime interest of their story, and too impatient for the labor of sifting its perplexities to the magnanimity and justice of enemies. [Transition] To this class belongs the Maid of Arc. The ancient Romans were too faithful to the ideal of grandeur in themselves not to relent, after a generation or two, before the grandeur of Hannibal. Mithridates, a more doubtful person, yet merely for the magic perseverance of his indomitable malice, won from the same Romans the only real honor that ever he received on earth. [Transition] And we English have ever shown the same homage to stubborn enmity. To work unflinchingly for the ruin of England; to say through life, by word and by deed, Delenda est Anglia Victrix!
that one purpose of malice, faithfully pursued, has quartered some people upon our national funds of homage as by a perpetual annuity. . . . On the same principle, La Pucelle d'Orleans, the victorious enemy of England, has been destined to receive her deepest commemoration from the magnanimous justice of Englishmen. - DE QUINCEY: Joan of Arc.
Sir, whilst we held this happy course, we drew more from the Colonies than all the impotent violence of despotism ever could extort from them. We did this abundantly in the last war. It has never been once denied; and what reason have we to imagine that the Colonies would not have proceeded in supplying government as liberally, if you had not stepped in and hindered them from contributing, by interrupting the channel in which their liberality flowed with so strong a course; by attempting to take, instead of being satisfied to receive? Sir William Temple says that Holland has loaded itself with ten times the impositions, which it revolted from Spain, rather than submit to. [Summary] He says true. Tyranny is a poor provider. It knows neither how to accumulate, nor how to extract.
- BURKE: American Taxation.
A series of short sentences produces the effect of hurried movement, as in the selection just below; a series of long sentences produces the effect of dignity, grace, and rhythmical movement, as may be seen in the selection beginning at the bottom of page 76.
Loose, Periodic, Balanced Sentences.
38. Whether long or short, a sentence may be balanced, periodic, or loose. The term "balanced" is applied to sentences in which successive parts have similarity of form.
Thus: "To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely." This sentence is almost mathematically divided. When whole sentences are balanced against one another and similarity of form is maintained through a series, we have what is called parallel construction. In the following, sentence 1 is a balanced sentence; sentences 2, 3, and 4 are in parallel construction, as are also sentences 7, 8, 9, and 10.
1. The clergyman of fashion was pale and fragile; he of the people was florid and muscular. 2. He had no attendant to remove his hat and cloak. 3. He had no comfortable study in the church building where he smoothed his hair and arranged his cuffs. 4. He declaimed before no fulllength mirror, and never wore a pair of patent leathers in his life. 5. When he ascended the platform, threading his way through the men and women on its steps, and patting the curly hair of boys perched on the ledge, he slung his soft felt hat under a little table, put one leg over the other while he removed his rubbers, threw back his cloak, settled himself in his chair, and gave a sigh of relief as he drew a restful breath after his quick walk from home. 6. In other words, he was a man bent on man's duty. 7. If the air seemed close he said so, called an usher, and had the windows lowered. 8. If he desired a special tune sung to the hymn he gave out, he turned to the director and told him so. 9. If he forgot a date or a name, he asked one of the people near him what it was. 10. If strangers sitting close to the platform were unprovided with hymn-books, he leaned forward and handed them several from his desk. 11. As he said: "I am at home; they are guests. 12. What is proper in my house is eminently proper in the house of the Lord!"
- Jos. HowARD: Life of Beecher, p. 158.
It is evident that the use of the accurately balanced sentence is justified only when there is a real contrast of ideas to be expressed. Yet it is true that every sentence should possess in a measure the quality of balance, or perhaps we should say the quality of symmetry. When Lowell referred to the danger of a long sentence "losing its balance" (p. 128) he did not mean that every sentence should be a mathematically balanced sentence; he referred to the lack of symmetry in such sentences as those in the first column below. The version in the second column restores the symmetry.
A sentence, whether long or short, will be likely to show firmness of structure and certainty of direction, if
1 The" and who" construction should not be used unless a clause beginning with "who" has already been used in the same sentence. The same rule governs the use of "and which."
it is given the periodic form, that is, if the parts are so arranged that the meaning is suspended until the close. In the following selection every sentence is periodic. This is unusual, for in most paragraphs a majority of the sentences are loose in structure. The effect of a series of periodic sentences is to give an air of formality and dignity to the paragraph. This is not fitting when the thoughts are commonplace. In the following the dignity of the subject justifies the exclusive use of periodic sentences. Notice that suspense is secured in sentence 1 by the, use of comparative words (never, more, than); in 2, by the use of a summarizing word (such) after particulars have accumulated by means of the participles (beating, defending, etc.); in 3, by putting a phrase first and bringing in the logical subject (qualification) after the copula (is); in 4, 5, and 6 by putting a phrase first. In 7, the demonstrative article (a) anticipates the clause (when), the transitive verb (discovered) needs an object (here the that-clause), and the object clause is prolonged by the use of a comparative (inferior); in 8, the word it anticipates all that follows the word probable; and the part of sentence 8 after the word probable is suspended by the device used in sentence 3.
1. Never, perhaps, was the change which the progress of civilization has produced in the art of war more strikingly illustrated than on that day. 2. Ajax beating down the Trojan leader with a rock which two ordinary men could scarcely lift, Horatius defending the bridge against an army, Richard the Lion-hearted spurring along the whole Saracen line without finding an enemy to withstand his assault, Robert Bruce crushing with one blow the helmet and head