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ADVICE ON INVENTION.

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CHAPTER VI.

INVENTION IN MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTIONS.

43. General Principles.- THE general principles of Invention will be easily seen from what has already been stated. To invent addresses, essays, criticisms, letters, dialogues, tales, poems, select the best models and study them, gather material, arrange, reject, modify, and improve it, until a satisfactory outline is made, and then patiently complete the work. Practice alone makes perfect.

44. Invention in Style.-This also should be sedulously cultivated. No one should be contented with a fair mastery of one style. His own most natural and efficient style will be improved by attempting many others. Let the writer who finds all his sentences short and crispy, by sheer resolution write some long and periodic sentences. Let the writer who finds the use of metaphors unnatural, seek out comparisons and invent metaphors, however tedious the effort.

45. How Invention is acquired.—The art of Invention can not be learned from a text-book. Science teaches only how to use material already existing. The student who forms the habit of reading with his pencil in hand, and who frequently expresses what thoughts he has on paper, will not long need to study the art of Invention. Severe study and abundant prac

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tice, with the special object of self-improvement, are indispensable to the highest success; but in the business of actual life, when writing and speaking cease to be an end, but are employed as a means, then one must be able to forget himself, to forget rule (except so far as not outrageously to violate it), and aim only to accomplish his main purpose.

46. Whately's Advice. - Dr. Whately has well remarked:

"The safest rule is, never, during the act of composition, to study elegance, or think about it at all. Let an author study the best models-mark their beauties of style and dwell upon them, that he may insensibly catch the habit of expressing himself with elegance; and when he has completed any composition, he may revise it, and cautiously alter any passage that is awkward and harsh, as well as those that are feeble and obscure; but let him never, while writing, think of any beauties of style, but content himself with such as may come spontaneously."

The secret of efficient speaking is, first, to have something to say, and second, to express it fully and exactly.

47. Bolingbroke's Opinion. Though the sentiment has already been expressed, we give the opinion of Bolingbroke, who illustrated in his own life the power of eloquence. "Eloquence," he says, "has charms to lead mankind, and gives a nobler superiority than power, that every dunce may use, or fraud, that every knave may employ. But eloquence must flow like a stream that is fed by an abundant spring, and not spout

SUBJECTS FOR INVENTION.

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forth like a frothy water on some gaudy day, and remain dry the rest of the year. The famous orators of Greece and Rome were the statesmen and ministers of those commonwealths. The nature of their governments, and the humor of those ages, made elaborate orations necessary. They harangued oftener than they debated; and the ars dicendi required more study and more exercise of mind, and of body too, among them, than are necessary among us. But as much pains as they took in learning how to stream of eloquence, they took more to foundation from which it flowed."

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48. Milton's Opinion.-We add a few weighty words from Milton:

"True eloquence I find to be none but the serious and hearty love of truth; and that whose mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire to know good. things, and with the dearest charity to infuse the knowledge of these things into others, when such a man would speak, his words, like so many nimble and airy servitors, trip about him at command, and in wellordered files, as he would wish, fall aptly into their own places."

49. Examples for Practice. We subjoin a few subjects, simply as specimens, to write upon. Whatever subject be chosen, if, instead of the vain attempt to write at once, without thought, suitable efforts be made to collect information, an interest will be aroused which will make it comparatively easy to write.

Letter to a Friend describing a severe Snow-storm. Letter describing a severe Drought.

Letter describing a Fire.

Address to a Popular Assembly on Universal Education.

Speech in Favor of a more reasonable Observance of the Sabbath.

Lecture on the Art of Printing.

Anniversary Address on the 4th of July.
Oration on Washington, for February 22d.
Oration on Christianity in America.
An Anecdote.

Journal of a Week's Residence at Home.
Journal of a Week's Travel.

Description of a Presidential Inauguration.
A Review of "The Pilgrim's Progress."

A Book Notice of a new Edition of "Robinson Crusoe."

Utility of such a Book as "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments."

Letter to the N. Y. Day Star (a newspaper) describing a Revolution in Mexico.

Letter from one of a Party saved from Shipwreck.
Communication to a Paper describing a great Flood.
Description of an Accident on a Railway.
Dialogue between a Republican and a Monarchist.
Dialogue between a Farmer and a Lawyer.
North and South America compared.

An Allegory: The European Sisters (Nations).
An Allegory: Contest between the Virtues and the
Vices.

Contrast between Ancient Greece and Modern China.

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Impulse and Principle.

New England and Old England.

Effects of the Discovery of America.

Proceedings of a Public Meeting called to consider the propriety of building a new School-house.

Report of a Committee appointed to draft Resolutions at a Meeting held to prevent Intemperance.

A Petition addressed to the Legislature of this State for the enactment of a Law the more effectually to prevent Gambling.

Report of a Committee appointed to visit the Schools of this State, and to examine their Condition, and suggest what Improvements are needed.

Reform Schools: their Character and Usefulness.
The Magnetic Needle and the Bible.

The Telescope and the Microscope.
The Slavery of Evil Habits.

Prospects of the English Language.

The Chinese in America.

The Effects of Music and Painting compared.
Socrates and Franklin compared.

Importance of Agricultural Colleges.

A Poem: America in the 19th Century.

A Poem: The Last Red Man.

A Poem: The Submarine Telegraph.

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