felicitous power which makes French prose so remarkable; but it has passed, since his day, possibly from excess of vigor, into a prolonged series of experiments.
experimentalized in one direction, Coleridge
in another; Landor
, in other directions still; and the net result is an uncertain type of style, which has almost always vigor and sometimes beauty, but is liable at any moment to relapse into Rider Haggard
and ‘a fiddlestick's end.’
It is hard for our modest American speech to hold its own, now that the potent influence of Emerson
has passed away; but we are lost unless we keep resolutely in mind that prose style ought not to be merely a bludgeon or a boomerang, but should be a weapon of precision.