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these writers and those before mentioned, in their intellectual resources and energies. There is less of bolis.. ness of conception, less of comprehensiveness and exaltation of view, less of freedom of expression. The style of the latter period seems formed on ono uniforin model, and the different writers exhibit not so much the characteristic marks of their own peculiar manner of thinking, as they do a conformity to some established standard.
That the influence of the polish and refinement of this period was most favorable, cannot be doubted. English style acquired an ease and elegance, which it had never possessed. Its forms of expression were idiomatic, its ornament had simplicity and beauty. The permanent influence of this progress, has been felt in the improvement of our language itself.
But if we allow that the improvements in our language, made at this period, and the ease and beauty of expression introduced, compensate for want of boldness and vigour of thought and expression, it must still be allowed, that the effect of the close imitation of these pol ished writers was injurious. For many years following the period of which we have last spoken, there was manifestly too great ambition among writers, to form their style on the model of Addisonian ease and simplicity. Hence freedom from faults, a negative sort of excellence, was the object at which they aimed ; and in their painful efforts for polish and refinement of style, they forgot to think for themselves, and nobly speak their thoughts. Such, with few exceptions, was the character of English writers, for many years following the time of Addison.
Within the last twenty years, another change in English style has been gradually making progress. The
nerveless polish and excessive refinement of the former period, have been giving place to directness and manliliness and strength of expression. In these traits of style, we seem to be going back to the times of Hooker and Barrow. But the improvements of intervening periods, have not been lost. Our language has become more definite in the use of words, more harmonious in its sounds, and more copious in its terms.
The good writer of the present day, seems ever to write under a degree of excitement. He is full of his subject, and his attention is directed to what he shall say, rather than to the manner of conveying his thoughts. pressions have an air of originality about them. There is no toilsome selection of words, no labored composition of sentences, no high wrought ornament, but the words, and sentences, and ornaments, are sueh as most naturally and obviously present themselves to the excited mind. If a word is more expressive of his meaning than any other, he uses it, though it may never have been introduced to so good company before. If a form of a sentence occurs to him, which is more easy and idiomatic than another, he adopts it, and stops not to enquire whether it end in a trisy Hable, or a monosyllable. If a figurative expression strikes him as pertinent and happy, he uses it, and leaves it for others to examine, whether it be found in the numbers of the Spectator, and have the authority of classical writers for its support. In short, instead of imitating the style of any other writer as his guide, he has a style of his own, and observes the maxiın of Horace in the literal use of the term,
Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri. The most characteristic faults of the prevalent style of the present day, are incorrectness and affectation of strength. Though we would not condemn the writer, who, borne along by the rapid and impetuous flow of his thoughts, disdains the restraints of minor rhetorical rules, yet there are certain limits, beyond which no one can pass without censure. No one can be esteemed a good writer, whose manner of writing is not perspicuous, Hence no rule, the observance of which is essential to perspicuity, can be violated without the charge of incorrectness. If a writer uses words in a foreign or impropa er signification, no excellence can atone for these defects. Ifin the composition of his sentences, he neglects to observe those rules, which require unity and a right arrangement of the several clauses and parts, to that degree which produces obscurity, be cannot receive the name of a good writer. It is too often the case, that modern writers, in the haste and ardour with which they compose, are guilty of violations of these rules.
The other fault which has been mentioned, is an affectation of strength of expression. This arises from the propensity, so natural to man, of going to extremes. Because strength is a characteristic of the style of the good writer of the present day, many are evidently laboring hard, through their whole composition, for its attainment. They are ever seeking after new and forcible forms of expression, and searching for striking and dazzling illustrations. What is thus unnatural and forced, must ever be disgusting.
In answer to the enquiry, where those models of writing are to be found, the study of which ́may aid in acquiring the style of the present day, I would first direct the attention to the literary Reviews of the time. This class of writings not only contains the best part of the literature of the age, but has done much towards the improvement of our style. Especially has the Edioburgh Review contributed much to this object. It was
the first to lead the way in that fearlessness and boldness of thought and expression, which have succeeded to the tameness and excessive polish of a former period. The Orations and popular Addresses of the day, may be mentioned as another class of writings furnishing models of good writing. But I would recommend to hiin who would acquire a good style that instead of confining the attention to models of good writing of the present day, he go
back to an earlier period in English literature, Let him study the works of those great men of former days, who, conscious of an intellectual supremacy, stood forth with a noble spirit of independence and self-reliance, as the guides and instructers of their times; and who, feeling the responsibility attached to their high gifts and attainments, sought not the praises of their contemporaries only, but, to use the noble language of Milton,“that lasting fame and perpetuity of praise, which God and good men have consented, shall be the reward of those, whose published labours advance the good of mankind." He will indeed find in these writings inelegancies and harshnesses of expression;-he will meet words and phrases which will appear to him strange and uncouth ; but these deficiences are amply compensated by a noble freedom and strength of thought, and a richness and directness of expression. Let him then study these models, that his mind may become assimilated to theirs, that he may be actuated by the same spirit, and shew forth the same energy.
2. Compose frequently and with care.
It should be remembered by all those who would attain a good style, that every good writer has made himself such. Instructers and works on Rhetoric may point out excellencies, and give cautions, but they can never make good writers. A good style can be attained only by writing frequently and with care.
But it is not enough that efforts be made; they should he well-directed. The first object of attention should be to acquire a distinct and well matured view of the subject. In this way a degree of interest in it will be excited, and the words and expressions which offer themselves to the excited mind, in conveying what it distinctly sees, will ordinarily be the best. There will, it is true, in the efforts of the young writer, be inaccuracies and violations of rules, but these may be removed in a revisal. There is danger however, lest, in this revisal, an attempt to refine and polish, destroy the force and originality of the expressions. It is better merely to correct inaccuracies, and to leave a higher degree of polish to be attained by an improvement of the taste, resulting from the study of good models. Let not then the young writer direct his efforts for improvement solely to the choice of his words, or the composition of his sentences, or waste them in a search after figurative expressions or the ornaments of style. Let him rather aim at the altainment of distinct views of his subject, and the clear and forcible conveyance of these views to others.
When a good style has been formed, it is still of importance to compose occasionally with care and attention. The style of an individual in some respects resembles the hand writing. If he acquires the ability of writing a fair and legible hand, and afterwards in the hurry of business is led to write rapidly and carelessly, his hand writing will deteriorate. If he continue to bestow on it a usual share of attention, it will remain the same. If occasionally he writes with attention, and labours to improve it, he will improve it. The same is true of style ; and since in the discharge of the common duties of a profession, it may be difficult to devote at