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Sect. IV. – THE PERIOD.
The Period, or Full Point [ - ], serves to indicate the end of a sentence which is assertive in its nature, and independent of any following sentence.
Complete and Independent Sentences. · When a sentence is complete in itself, and is neither connected in construction with what follows, nor of an interrogatory or exclamatory nature, its termination is marked with a period.
EXAM P L E S. 1. Truth is the basis of every virtue. It is the voice of reason. Let its pre
cepts be religiously obeyed. Never transgress its limits. 2. The right is the supreme good, and includes all other goods. In seeking
and adhering to it, we secure our true and only happiness.
a. For the mode of pointing short sentences which are slightly connected with each other, see page 125.
6. A full point is admissible between two parts of a long sentence, though they are closely connected in sense by a particle, when either of them can be divided into more simple parts, separated from one another by a semicolon or a colon; as in the following passage, in which the writer treats of Shakspeare: “ Other men may have led, on the whole, greater and more impressive lives than he; other men, acting on their fellows through the same medium of speech that he used, may have expended a greater power of thought, and achieved a greater intellectual effect, in one consistent diroction; other men, too (though this is very questionable), may have contrived to issuo
the matter which they did address to the world, in more compact and perfect artistic shapes. But no man that ever lived said such splendid extempore things on all subjects universally; no man that ever lived had the faculty of pouring out, on all occasions, such a flood of the richest and deepest language.”
c. When the two larger portions of a continuous passage are joined by a conjunction, they may be separated by a period, if several of the minor parts are united to each other also by conjur ctions. --- See p. 134, Remark b.
d. A full point should be used between two sentences, joined by a conjunction, though their parts are incapable of being separated by a semicolon or a colon, if they do not depend one ou the other in construction, and are not directly connected; as, “ There are thoughts and images flashing across the mind in its highest moods, to which we give the name of inspiration. But whom do we bonor with this title of the inspired poet? ”.
e. From the last remark and example, it is evident that the kind of point used depends less on the connecting word than on the construction and nature of the sentences. Accordingly, we find numerous instances, particularly in the Bible, of not only sentences, but paragraphs and chapters, beginning with and, and other conjunctions; as, “ For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And, when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went,” &c.
ORAL EXERCISES. Mention the grammatical use of the period, and the reason for inserting that
point in the sentences that follow : The benefits of conversation greatly depend on the previous attainments of those who are supposed either to communicato knowledge or to receive it. If, therefore, instruction be neglected, conversation will grow trifling; if perverted, dangerous.
Knowledge is not only pleasant, but useful and honorable. The liberal student will therefore endeavor to collect ideas on subjects which can enrich the understanding. Languages, and a taste for elegant letters, will form but a small part of his literary objects. He will dedicate a great portion of his time to the sciences properly so denominated. He will search for knowledge, not only in books, but in the exchange, the manufactory, the world at large. From these various sources, he will collect food for the mind, on which he will afterwards ruminate.
There lies upon the other side of the wide Atlantic a beautiful island, famous in story and in song. Its area is not so great as that of the State of Louisiana, while its population is almost half that of the Union. It has given to the world more than its share of genius and of greatness. It has been prolific in statesmen, warriors, and poets. Its brave and generous sons have fought successfully all battles but their own. In wit and humor, it has no equal; while its harp, like its history, moves to tears by its sweet but melancholy pathos.
Be servants of truth and duty, each in his vocation. Be sincere, pure in heart, earnest, enthusiastic. A virtuous enthusiasm is always self-forgetful and noble. It is the only inspiration now vouchsafed to man. Blend humility with learning. Ascend above the present in place and time. Regard fame only as the eternal shadow of excellence. Bend in adoration before the right. Cultivate alike the wisdom of experience and the wisdom of hope. Mindful of the future, do not neglect the past: awed by the majesty of antiquity, turn not with indifference from the future.
I would say to the people, You cannot, without guilt and disgrace, stop where you are. The past and the present call on you to advance. Let what you have gained be an impulse to something higher. Your nature is too great to be crushed. You were not created what you are, merely to toil, eat, drink, and sleep, like the inferior animals. If you will, you can rise. No power in society, no hardship in your condition, can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent. Make yourselves worthy of your free institutions, and strengthen and perpetuate them by your intelligence and your virtues.
This world is full of beauty, - full of innocent gladness. Open your inmost sense to all the influences of what is brightest and happiest in the scenes around you. Let the spirit be clear and transparent, to receive and transmit these blessed influences of the Creator's love, and send out the light of them on other hearts. Only a pure and gentle soul can feel them. Keep yours so that they do not come to you in vain. There is impiety in letting all this beauty rise and set on us daily unfelt. To sympathize with the loveliness which blooms and sparkles in every aspect of this terrestrial paradise is silent praise, – that worship of the heart, more audible to the ear of God than the chanted litany of the cathedral.
in accordance with the Rule and the Remarks (pp. 142-3), say why periods are
inserted in the following passages :Legitimate reasoning is impossible without severe thinking; and thinking is neither an easy nor an amusing employment. The reader who would follow a close reasoner to the summit and absolute principle of any one important subject has chosen a chamois-hunter for his guide. Our guide will, indeed, take us the shortest way, will save us many a wearisome and perilous wandering, and warn us of many a mock road, that had formerly led himself to the brink of chasms and precipices, or at least in an idle circle to the spot from whence he started. But he cannot carry us on his shoulders: we must strain our own sinews as he has strained his, and make firm footing on the naked rock for ourselves by the blood of toil from our own feet.
There is no one, of ever so little understanding in what belongs to a human constitution, who knows not, that without action, motion, and empioyment, the body languishes and is oppressed; its nourishment runs to disease; the spirits, employed abroad, help to consume the parts within; and nature, as it were, preys upon herself. For although an inclination to ease, and moderate rest from action, be as natural and useful to us as the inclination we have towards sleep; yet an excessive love of rest, and a contracted aversion to employment, must be a disease in the mind, equal to that of a lethargy in the body.
This calamity is peculiar to man. The inferior tribes know nothing of it. They obey the laws of their life, and so they have no dread of what is to come. The lamb gambols alike through the green pastures or to the place of slaughter. Up to the last flutter of her wings, the bird ceases not to trill her matins upon the air. But the only immortal being upon the earth lives in dread of death. The only being to whom death is an impossibility fears every day that it will come. And if we analyze the nature of this fear, and explore the cause of it, we shall not be at all certain that it will not follow the mere natural man into a future life, and have an important part in its retributions...
When we look at different races of animals, though all partake of that mysterious property, life; yet what an immense and impassable distance is there between the insect and the lion! They have no bond of union, no possibility of communication. During the lapse of ages, the animalcules which sport in the sunbeams a summer's day, and then perish, have made no approximation to the king of the forests. But in the intellectual world there are no such barriers. All minds are
essentially of one origin, one nature, kidled from one divine flame; and are all tending to one centre, one happiness. This great truth, to us the greatest of truths, which lies at the foundation of all religion and of all hope, seems to me not only sustained by proofs which satisfy the reason, but to be one of the deep instincts of our nature.
In whatever way, and in whatever century, the Homeric poems might be created and fashioned, they place 'before us a time when the heroic age was on the decline, or had perhaps already gone by. For there are two different worlds which both exist together in the compositions of Homer, — the world of marvels and tradition, which still, however, appears to be near and lively before the eyes of the poet; and the living circumstances and present concerns of the world, which produced the poet himself.
EXERCISE TO BE WRITTEN.
Insert periods in their respective places, and substitute capitals for small letters
at the beginning of the sentences.
The character of Washington is among the most cherished con templations of my life it is a fixed star in the firmament of great names, shining, without twinkling or obscuration, with clear, steady, beneficent light it is associated and blended with all our reflections on those things which are near and dear to us.
Truly good books are more than mines to those who can understand them they are the breathings of the great souls of past times genius is not embalmed in them, as is sometimes said, but lives in them perpetually but we need not many books to answer the great ends of reading a few are better than many; and a little time, given to a faithful study of the few, will be enough to quicken thought and enrich the mind.
We stand on the threshold of a new age, which is preparing to recognize new influences the ancient divinities of violence and wrong are retreating to their kindred darkness the sun of our moral universe is entering a new ecliptic, no longer deformed by images of animal rage, but beaming with the mild radiance of those heavenly signs, Faith, Hope, and Charity the age of chivalry has gone: an age of humanity has come the horse, which gave the name to the first, now yields to man the foremost place in serving him, in doing him good, in contributing to his welfare and elevation, there are fields of bloodless triumph nobler far than any in which warriors ever conquered here are spaces of labor wide as the world, lofty as heaven.