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allusions in language will hardly be admitted as an imperfection or abuse of it. I confess in discourse where we seek rather pleasure and delight than information and improvement, such ornaments as are borrow'd from them can scarce pass for faults. But yet if we would speak of things as they are, we must allow that all the art of rhetoric, besides order and clearness, all the artificial and figurative application of words, eloquence hath invented, are for nothing else but to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment, and so indeed are perfect cheat. And therefore, however laudable or allowable oratory may render them in harangues, or popular addresses, they are certainly in all discourses that pretend to inform * or instruct, wholly to be avoided; and where truth and knowledge are concerned, cannot but be thought a great fault either of the language, or person, that makes use of them. What and how various they are, will be superfluous here to take notice; the books of rhetoric which abound in the world, will instruct those who want to be informed: only I cannot but observe, how little the preservation and improvement of truth, and knowledge, is the care and concern of mankind since the arts of fallacy are endow'd and prefer'd. 'Tis evident how much men love to deceive, and be deceived, since rhetoric, that powerful instrument of error and deceit, has its established professors, is publicly taught, and has always been had in great reputation. And I doubt not it will be thought great boldness if not brutality in me, to have said thus much against it. Eloquence, like the fair sex, has too prevailing beauties in it to suffer itself ever to be spoken against. And 'tis in vain to find fault with those arts of deceiving, wherein men find pleasure to be deceived. LOCKE. On the Understanding, Vol. III., Chap. 10.
QUOTH Ralpho, Nothing but th' abuse
Of human learning you produce;
As others are with fraud and cheat;
The florid, elevated, and figurative way, is for the passions; for love and hatred, fear and anger, are begotten in the soul by showing their objects out of their true proportion, either greater than the life, or less: but instruction is to be given by showing them what they naturally are. A man is to be cheated into passion but reasoned into truth.
DRYDEN. Religio Laici, Preface.
An art t' incumber gifts and wit,
A cheat that scholars put upon
A sort of error, to ensconce
And then they fall to th' argument.
Hudibras, Part I., Chap. 3.
OUR modern youth receive their education under certain declaimers called rhetoricians : a set of men who made their first appearance in Rome a little before the time of Cicero. And that they were by no means approved by our ancestors, plainly appears from their being enjoined, under the censorship of Croesus and Domitius to shut up their schools of impudence, as Cicero expresses it.
Dialogue on Oratory, ascribed to PLINY, translated by MELMOUTH.
FOR rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth, but out there flew a trope:
And when he happen'd to break off
one who for his excellence
In heightening words and shadowing sense.
BUTLER. Elephant in the Moon.
He had hard words ready to show why,
Else, when with greatest art he spoke,
THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS.
ONE more unfortunate.
Take her up tenderly,
Gently and humanly;
Rash and undutiful: Past all dishonour, Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.
Still for all slips of hers, One of Eve's familyWipe those poor lips of hers Oozing so clammily.
Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb, Her fair auburn tresses; Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home?
Who was her father?
Had she a brother?
Alas! for the rarity
* And lovelier things have mercy shown
To every failing but their own,
Love, by harsh evidence,
With many a light
From window and casement, From garret to basement, She stood, with amazement, Houseless by night.
The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and shiver; But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river: Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery Swift to be hurl'dAnywhere, anywhere Out of the world! In she plunged boldly, No matter how coldly
The rough river ran, Over the brink of it,Picture it, think of it,
Dissolute man! Lave in it, drink of it, Then, if you can!
Take her up tenderly,
Smooth, and compose them; And her eyes, close them, Staring so blindly! Dreadfully staring
Thro' muddy impurity, As when with the daring Last look of despairing
Fix'd on futurity.
Into the rest.
Cross her hands humbly
Over her breast!
Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour, And leaving, with meekness, Her sins to her Saviour!
THE shadows lay along Broadway,
'Twas near the twilight tide
And slowly there a lady fair
Was walking in her pride.
Alone walk'd she; but, viewlessly,
Walk'd spirits at her side.
Peace charm'd the street beneath her feet,
And Honour charm'd the air;
And all astir look'd kind on her,
And call'd her good as fair
For all God ever gave to her
She kept with chary care.
She kept with care her beauties rare
Now walking there was one more fair
A slight girl, lily-pale;
And she had unseen company
To make her spirit quail—
"Twixt want and scorn she walk'd forlorn,
No mercy now can clear her brow
For this world's peace to pray;
For, as love's wild prayer dissolved in air,
But the sin forgiven by Christ in Heaven
THEN gently scan your brother man,
Still gentlier sister woman;
Though they may gang a kennin' wrang,
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving Why they do it,
And just as lamely can you mark
Who made the heart, 'tis he alone
He knows each chord-its various tone,
We never can adjust it;
What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.*.
BURNS. Address to the Unco Good.
* The difference between those whom the world esteems as good, and those whom it condemns as bad, is in many cases little else than that the former have been better sheltered from temptation.
HARE. Guesses at Truth.