moral, we shall soon see that it is a part of the general tendency of modern literature to do without external aids to make its meaning clear.
There is undoubtedly a tendency to rely more and more upon what has been well called “the presumption of brains” in the reader.
Note, for instance, the steady disappearance of the italic letter from the printed page.
Once used as freely as in an epistle from one of Thackeray
's fine ladies, it is now employed by careful writers almost wholly to indicate foreign words or book titles; a change in which Emerson
were conspicuous leaders.
There is a feeling that only a very crude literary art will now depend on typography for shades of meaning which should be rendered by the very structure of the sentence.
The same fate of banishment is overtaking the exclamation-point, so long used by poets-conspicuously by Whittier
— as a note of admiration also.
Here, too, as in the other case, the emphasis is now left to render itself; and even the last verse of the poem, which often — to cite Whittier
again-contained the detached moral of the lay, is now commonly clipped off, leaving the reader to draw the moral for himself.
The poet now makes his point as best he can, and leaves it