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CHAPTER IV.

OF ELEGANCE.

$ 354. ELEGANCE is that property of style by virtue of which the discourse is commended to the taste of the hearer.

$ 355. The elements of elegance in style are propriety; expression of right sentiment; and grace.

. This analysis of elegance is founded on that of the constituents of aesthetic beauty. (Introduction, chap. HII. , 21.) The first element of taste, if it be not rather an indispensable condition, is propriety or fitness. We require, for instance, as essential to all beauty that there be fitness in respect to the end or design in reference to which the work of art is constructed. The perception of this fitness gives us pleasure of itself with no further element of beauty. Thus the adaptation of the various parts of a steam engine to its designed end—the production of motion; of the different members of the animal body to their respective uses, and of all of them together to the final end of the animal economy; of a chain of reasoning or a series of complicated arguments to the proof of a proposition, gives us a higher or lower degree of aesthetic pleasure. We

e are likewise pleased with the expression of a correct sentiment. We admire the exhibition of devoted friendship and attachment in the episode of Nisus and Euryalus in the Æneid; of generous and lofty patriotism in the well-known adjuration and other parts of the oration of Demosthenes on the crown.

We are touched, also, by the exhibition of grace in the

constructions of art, evincing a masterly skill and power in the artist.

Into these elements may be resolved all the constituents of beauty in style.

$ 356. PROPRIETY in style requires

1. A just expression of all the various properties of style that have been before enumerated, and a symmetry and congruity as respects the parts of a discourse ;

2. An adaptation of the verbal expression to the character of the theine as sacred, important, serious, or otherwise; and

3. The observance of a due decorum as determined by the character of the speaker, of the hearers, and of the occasion and circumstances of speaking.

An element of style so extended although so indispensable and so difficult of attainment, its very nature forbids the attempt to describe or exemplify more fully. It is one which, as Cicero remarks, it is impossible to communicate by art.* One or two general observations are all that it is deemed useful to add on this subject.

The first is, that a strict regard to propriety is absolutely indispensable to success in oratory, so far as success depends on the hearer's taste. And his gratification here may have a determining power over his attention, his perception and judgment. Indeed, Cicero does not hesitate to say that propriety is thc essential element of oratorical power. “Is erit eloquens, qui ad id quodcumque decebit, poterit accommon dare orationem."

* Caput esse artis, decere; quod tamen unum id esse, quod tra:lj arte non possit.—De Orat. I. 29.

The nature of oratorical propriety, further, may perhaps best be understood from the observation that it is merely the giving to discourse what belongs to it. The demands of propriety are fully met when what belongs to the nature of style as the expression of thought, to the nature of the subjeci, the character of the speaker and the hearer, the occasion and circumstances of speaking, is correctly observed in the discourse.

0 357. The EXPRESSION OF RIGHT SENTIMENT as an element of beauty in style, involves the use of such representative imagery in the exhibition of thought as is founded on high and pure associations. - This is a positive element of beauty, and is of a higher order than the first named--propriety. It is by this element that oratory more closely links itself to the peculiar beauty of ideal art which lies in the representation of sentiment. It is, indeed, only indirectly and incidentally that sentiment can be expressed in oratorical style; while in art it may constitute the final end of the work. Still sentiment appears in style. It gives to style a peculiar color and hue. When discourse proceeds from a mind imbued with elevated sentiments and familiarized with pure and nolle associations, style, as the body of the thought, puts on a peculiar freshness and beauty which commends it to every refined taste. The character thus reveals itself in style. It was on good grounds that the ancients urged so earnestl: the importance of character to success in oratory; for, as Quintilian reasons, “ discourse reveals character and discloses the secret disposition and temper; and not without reason did the Greeks teach that as a man lived so he would speak.”—“ Proferr orim mores plerumque oratio, et animi secreta detegit. Neo sine causa Graeci prodiderunt, ut vivat, quemque etiam dicere."

$ 358. Grace is that element of beauty which springs from ease of execution implying not only a thorough knowledge of the principles of style but also power and skill in the actual expression.

Grace ultimately is founded on motion or power in sensible operation, $ 21. By an easy analogy it is applied to moral and abstract expressions of power, as well as, also, to forms which are motionless but yet suggest previous exertion of power in determining them. We speak thus of the grace of a statue which represents the easy attitude of perfect vigor and suppleness of limb. Grace

appears in style in the easy flow of diction which attends power of expression. Abruptness and sententiousness in style imply, indeed, power. So far as abrupt and bruken, however, discourse implies a broken or impeded energy. The roar and foam of a mountain torrent dashing against rocks and trees display force; it is force, however, checked, impeded and out-mastered. The easy gentle flow of the majestic river, that quietly takes into its current and bears along without a ripple every obstacle that comes in its way, is a more perfect emblem of unimpeded power, and in its motion we see grace exemplified. Mere impulsive, jetting oratory is so far deficient in grace, as it implies in peded and resisted power.

$ 359. In the acquisition of this property of style, elegance or beauty, three means are essential;

First, mental culture;

Secondly, study of art, including both its principles and its exemplifications in models; and

Thirdly, exercise with judicious criticisms.

$360. Mental culture is essential both for the purpose of acquiring those moral habits and associations which are necessary for the expression of right sentiment; as well as also for the attainment of that

power which is the foundation and source of grace.

$361. The study of art is directly beneficial in creating that sense of propriety which is the condition of all beauty; as well as also in forming the sentiments and in developing power of expression.

Every species of art may be turned to useful account in the formation of oratorical taste. While in no one are all the forms of beauty perfectly revealed, there is none, perhaps, which is not distinguished above every other in its adaptedness to develop some one or another particular element of beauty.

The term 'art is here employed in its most comprehensive import; and is intended to include every exertion of power under the control of taste. Nature itself in this view is but the workmanship of a most perfect artist, and is hence a most appropriate model for the study of oratory in all its various forms of skill and beauty. Manners and morals, also, lie within the domain of art; and for many reasons demand the close and constant study of the orator, not for the mero information of the understanding only, but as furnishing the means of developing and forming the taste.

§ 362. Exercise in oratory of itself develops and strengthens power of execution; and, combined with judicious criticism, aids in the cultivation of all the elements of oratorical taste.

In applying criticism to oratorical compositions, the onution given in % 18 in regard to the time of criticism

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