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Sect. III. Complex sentences.

every circumstance, as being of importance, and to this in particular the multiplicity of the circumstances, is best awakened by the second. The conjunctions and relatives excluded by the asyndeton, are such as connect clauses and members; those repeated by the polysyndeton, are such as connect single words only, All connectives alike are set aside by the former; the latter is confined to copulatives and disjunctives. A few examples of this will illustrate the difference. “While the earth remaineth,” said God immediately after the deluge, “seed-time and harvest, and cold “ and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, “shall not cease f.” Every thing to which a permanency of so great importance is secured, requires the most deliberate attention. And, in the following declaration of the apostle, much additional weight and distinctness are given to each particular, by the repetition of the conjunction. “I am persuaded, that nei“ther death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, “ nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, “ nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall “be able to separate us from the love of God *.”

SECT. III....Complex Sentences. PART I....Subdivision of these into period, and loose sentences.

I come now to the consideration of complex sentences. These are of two kinds. They are either peri

i Gen. viii. 22. - * Rom. viii. 38, 39.

Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the words.

ods, or sentences of a looser composition, for which the language doth not furnish us with a particular name. A period is a complex sentence, wherein the meaning remains suspended till the whole is finished. The connection consequently is so close between the beginning and the end as to give rise to the name period, which signifies circuit. The following is such a sentence: “Corruption could not spread with so much success, “ though reduced into system, and though some mini“sters, with equal impudence and folly, avowed it by “ themselves and their advocates, to be the principal “expedient by which they governed; if a long and “almost unobserved progression of causes and effects “ did not prepare the conjuncture #.” The criterion of a period is this : If you stop any where before the end, the preceding words will not form a sentence, and therefore cannot convey any determined sense. This is plainly the case with the above example. The first verb being could and not can, the potential and not the indicative mood, shews that the sentence is hypothetical, and requires to its completion some clause beginning with if, unless, or some other conditional particle. And after you are come to the conjunction, you find no part where you can stop before the end f.

+ Bolingb. Spirit of Patriotism.

i It is surprising that most modern critics seem to have mistaken totally the import of the word period, confoundin g it with the complex sentence in general, and sometimes even with the simple but circumstantiated sentence. Though none of the ancients, as far as # remember, either Greek or Latin, have treated this matter with

Sect. III. Complex Sentences.

From this account of the nature of a period, we may justly infer, that it was much easier in Greek and La

all the precision that might be wished, yet it appears to me evident, from the expressions they employ, the similitudes they use, and the examples they produce, that the distinction given above perfectly coincides with their notions on this subject. But nothing seems more decisive than the instance which Demetrius Phalereus has given of a period from Demosthenes, and which, for the sake of illustrating the difference, he has also thrown into the form of a loose sentence. I refer the learned reader to the book itself: Ilić, guzvua, I. IA. The ancients did indeed sometimes apply the word Period to simple but circumstantiated sentences of a certain structure. I shall give the following example in our own language, for an illustration: “At last, after much fatigue, through deep roads and “bad weather, we came with no small difficulty to our journey's “end.” Otherwise thus, “We came to our journey's end at sart, “with no small difficulty, after much fatigue, through deep road, “and bad weather.” The latter is in the loose, the former in the periodic composition. Accordingly, in the latter, there are, before the conclusion, no less than five words, which I have distinguished by the character, namely, end, last, difficulty, fatigue, road, with any of which the sentence might have terminated. One would not have expected that a writer so accurate and knowing as M. du Marsais, should have so far mistaken the meaning of the word period in the usage of the ancients, as to define it in this manner: “La ‘periode est un assemblage des propositions liées entr’ elles par des “conjonctions, et qui toutes ensemble font un sens fini.” “The pe“riod is an assemblage of propositions connected by conjunctions, “ and making altogether one complete sense.” (Principes de Grammaire, La Periode.) This is a proper definition of a complex sentence; and that he meant no more is manifest from all his subsequent illustrations. Take the following for an example, which he gives in another place of the same work: “Il y a un avantage réal

Of vivacity as depending on the arrangement of the words.

tin to write in periods than it is in English, or perhaps in any European tongue. The construction with them depended mostly on inflection; consequently the arrangement, which ascertains the character of the sentence in respect of composition, was very much in their own power; with us, on the contrary, the construction depends mostly on arrangement, which is therefore comparatively very little in our power. Accordingly, as the sense in every sentence hangs entirely on the verb, one ordinary way with them of keeping the sense suspended, was by reserving the verb to the end. This, in most cases, the structure of modern languages will not permit us to imitate. An example of a complex sentence, that is not a period, I shall produce from the same performance. “One party had given “ their whole attention, during several years, to the “project of enriching themselves, and impoverishing “the rest of the nation; and, by these and other means, “ of establishing their dominion, under the government, “ and with the favour of a family who were foreigners, “ and therefore might believe that they were establish“ed on the throne, by the good will and strength of

“a etre instruit; mais il ne faut pas que cet avantage inspire de l'or‘gueil. “There is a real advantage in being instructed; but we “ought not to be proud of this advantage.” He adds, “Le mair “raproche les deux propositions ou membres de la periode, et les • met en opposition.” “The but connects the two propositions or “ members of the period, and sets them in opposition.” (Des Conjonctions.) It is evident that the sentence adduced is no period a the sense of the ancients.

Sect. III. Complex sentences.

“this party alone.” The criterion of such loose sentences is as follows: There will always be found in them one place at least before the end, at which, if you make a stop, the construction of the preceding part will render it a complete sentence. Thus in the example now given, whether you stop at the word themselves, at nation, at dominion, at government, or at foreigners, all which words are marked in the quo

tation in Italics, you will find you have read a perfect Sentence.

WHEREFORE, then, it may be asked, is this denominated one sentence, and not several 2 For this reason, that though the preceding words, when you have reached any of the stops above-mentioned, will make sense, and may be construed separately, the same cannot be said of the words which follow. In a period, the dependence of the members is reciprocal ; in a loose sentence the former members have not a necessary dependence on the latter, whereas the latter depend entirely on the former. Indeed, if both former and latter members are, in respect of construction, alike independent on one another, they do not constitute one sentence, but two or more. And here I shall remark by the way, that it is by applying the observation just now made, and not always by the pointing, even where the laws of punctuation are most strictly observed, that we can discriminate sentences. When they are closely related in respect of sense, and when the sentences themselves are simple,

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