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The method of this kind of essays is admired in proportion as the turn and succession of thought in them appears easy and natural. Consequently, the only thing to be attended to, with regard to it, is the transition from sentiment to sentiment. Let the train be such as that it may be conceived probable that the thoughts would naturally suggest one another in the order in which they are put down; and whatever the piece consists of, whether observations, reflections, arguments, &c. (provided they be in themselves just and striking) the essay will appear natural, easy, and agreeable.

The Ode, and most other poems, which may be analysed into a mixture of narration and reflection, must be allowed the same latitude. Some bounds, however, must be set to the licentiousness of the human imagination, particularly that of poets, which otherwise would ramble from one subject to another by very slight transitions, such as may be forgotten the moment they have been made use of, and consequently wholly omitted in the composition: fo that, though a real train of connected ideas transmitted the thoughts of the poet from one subject to another, there remain no traces of that medium of transition, and the reader can perceive no connexion at all between the parts of it.

Something of unity ought, undoubtedly, to be preserved through the whole of every intire piece, whether in prose or verse; and to this general


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Lect. X.

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design of the whole, every part, wherever situated, ought to bear some relation. As in a piece of music, notwithstanding the seeming wild excursion of the notes, they are all chords to that which is called the key-note.

A want of sufficient connection is manifest in many of the odes of Horace; the episode of Euridice in the last book of the Georgics, seems to have been introduced rather on account of its own beauty than its relation to the subject of the book; and it has exercised the utmost ingenuity of critics to show the propriety of several parts of Pindar's poems. In general, the moderns pay more attention to regularity than the ancients.

. I would observe, at the conclusion of this part of the course, that the whole use of topics and of the disposition of them, hitherto explained, hath for its object and end the informing of the judgment, and influencing the practice, and that this is the only direct and proper, at least the ultimate end of oratory. The pleasure that a discourse may give to the imagination, or the emotion it may raise in the passions, are things that are brought about more indirectly, being effected by the manner in which things that tend ultimately to convince and persuade are expressed. The orator may, indeed, intend to please or affect his hearers; but, if he understands himself, he only means to influence their judgments, or reSolutions, by the medium of the imagination or the passions.

In these two preceding parts of this course, therefore, those things have been considered which are more peculiarly the proper objects of an orator, and essential to his views. In what remains will be explained what is, though very greatly, yet indirectly of service to him, and an advantage rather than a necessary part of his art. This thought, by the way, suggests an important advice, with which I shall conclude this part.

Let the first, and principal view of every orator, whether in writing or speaking, be to inform the judgment, and thereby dire&t the practice; and let him only attempt to please, or affect, when it is subfervient to that design ; when the occasion itself, in a manner, prompts to it, and the bent of his own genius leads him to comply with such an invitation.


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HE third part into which the art of oratory is distributed, comprehends whatever is ornamental in a discourse or composition. The bare materials, and even the disposition of them in a difcourse, are adapted to do little more than make an impression upon those persons who, of themselves, and from a regard to the nature and importance of the subject, will give their attention to it; whereas the subject of this last part is calculated to attract and engage the attention, by the grace and harmony of the style, the turn of thought, or the striking or pleasing manner in which sentiments are introduced and expressed. We have hitherto examined what we may call the bones, muscles, and nerves of a composition ; we now come to


the covering of this body, to describe the external lineaments, the colour, the complexion, and graceful attitudes of it.

In treating of this part of my subject, I shall endeavour to lay open the sources of all the pleasures we receive from this most refined art, explaining what are the properties or principles, in our frame which lay the mind open to its influences, as well as describe the various forms of expression which are found, by experience, to affect our minds in so agreeable a manner, and give examples of such forms of expression.

Whatever contributes to adorn a discourse, must either give life and beauty to the sentiment, or harmony to the di&tion. I shall consider each of these in their order. By ornament of thoughts, I mean that manner of introducing and presenting them to the mind which will give them the most favourable appearance. This, therefore, comprehends all the pleasures which may be said to be perceived by the mind; whereas, when I treat of the ornament of diction, I shall consider the language as affecting the ear only.

Whatever it be, in the sentiment or ideas, that makes a discourse to be read with pleasure, must either be interesting, by exciting those gross and more sensible feelings we call passions, or muft awaken those more delicate sensations, which are generally called the pleasures of the imagination. Each of these kinds of feelings are, by some philo


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