Continuing the Previous Strain This


Continuing the Previous Strain

This argument of the (need I say Glorious) seventeenth century:

The Excellency of the English Tongue (printed 1614) Richard Carew of Anthony (1555-1620)

Excellencie of the English tongue, by R. C. of Anthony
Esquire to W. C.

IT were most fittinge (in respect of discretion) that men
should first waye matters with Iudgement, and then
encline their affection where the greatest reason swayeth,
but ordinarilye it falleth out to the conntrarie ; for either
by nature or by Custome wee first settle our affection, and
then afterwards drawe in those arguments to approve it,
which should have foregone to perswade ourselfes. This
preposterous course, seing antiquitye from our Elders and
vniuersalitye of our neighbours doe entitle with a right,
I should my selfe the more freely warranted delirare, not
only cum Vulgo but also cum Sapientibus, in seekinge out
with what Commendacions I may attire our English
Languadge, as Stephanus hath done for the French and
diuers others for theirs.

Four pointes requisite in a Languadge.

Locutio is defined Animi sensus per vocem expressio.
On which grounde I builde these Consequences, that the
first and principall point sought in euery Languadge is
that wee maye expresse the meaning of our mindes aptlye
ech to other ; next, that we may doe it readilye without
great adoo; then fullye, so as others maye thoroughlie
conceiue vs; and, last of all, handsomely, that those to
whome we speake maye take pleasure in hearing vs: soe
as what soeuer tongue will gaine the race of perfection
must runn on those fower wheeles, Signficancye, Easynes,
Copiousnes, |&| Sweetnes, of which the two foremost importe
a necessitye, the two latter a delight. Nowe if I can
proue that our English Langwadge for all or the most is
macheable, if not preferable, before any other in vogue at
this daye, I hope the assent of any impartiall reeder will
passe on my side. And howe I endeuoure to performe
the same this short laboure shall manyfest.

All of which is merely words. Judging beauty by utility might please John Stuart Mill, but it certainly won't make the grade for the vast majority of us.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 10, 2003 8:22 AM.

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