The Idea of a University

clumsy; and it demands a succession of skilful artists to make it malleable and ductile, and to work it up to its proper perfection. It improves by use, but it is not every one who can use it while as yet it is unformed. To do this is an effort of genius; and so men of a peculiar talent arise, one after another, according to the circumstances of the times, and accomplish it. One gives it flexibility, that is, shows how it can be used without difficulty to express adequately a variety of thoughts and feelings in their nicety or intricacy; another makes it perspicuous or forcible; a third adds to its vocabulary; and a fourth gives it grace and harmony. The style of each of such eminent masters becomes henceforth in some sort a property of the language itself; words, phrases, collocations, and structure, which hitherto did not exist, gradually passing into the conversation and the composition of the educated classes.


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