Sweeping—vehemently sweeping,like that wielded by the awful shape which Dion the Syracusan saw? I make the suggestion modestly, though somewhat encouraged by Mr. Masson's system of exegesis, which reminds one of the casuists' doctrine of probables, in virtue of which a man may be probabiliter obligatus and probabiliter deobligatus at the same time. But perhaps the most remarkable instance of Mr. Masson's figures of speech is where we are told that the king might have established a bona fide government ‘by giving public ascendency to the popular or Parliamentary element in his Council, and inducing the old leaven in it either to accept the new policy, or to withdraw and become inactive.’ There is something consoling in the thought that yeast should be accessible to moral suasion. It is really too bad that bread should ever be heavy for want of such an appeal to its moral sense as should ‘induce it to accept the new policy.’ Of Mr. Masson's unhappy infection with the vivid style an instance or two shall be given in justification of what has been alleged against him in that particular. He says of Loudon that ‘he was committed to the Tower, where for more than two months he lay, with as near a prospect as ever prisoner had of a chop with the executioner's axe on a scaffold on Tower Hill.’ I may be overfastidious, but the word ‘chop’ offends my ears with its coarseness, or if that be too strong, has certainly the unpleasant effect of an emphasis unduly placed. Old Auchinleck's saying of Cromwell, that ‘he gart kings ken they had a lith in their necks,’ is a good example of really vivid phrase, suggesting the axe and the block, and giving one of those dreadful hints to the imagination
No pause admitted, no design avowed,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.