51. But we are not to suppose that it is against rule to mingle these various
styles: on the contrary, every variety of style should be introduced so far as
is consistent with good taste. For when we keep monotonously to one style, we
fail to retain the hearer's attention; but when we pass from one style to
another, the discourse goes off more gracefully, even though it extend to
greater length. Each separate style, again, has varieties of its own which
prevent the hearer's attention from cooling or becoming languid. We can bear
the subdued style, however, longer without variety than the majestic style.
For the mental emotion which it is necessary to stir up in order to carry the
hearer's feelings with us, when once it has been sufficiently excited, the
higher the pitch to which it is raised, can be maintained the shorter time.
And therefore we must be on our guard, lest, in striving to carry to a higher
point the emotion we have excited, we rather lose what we have already gained.
But after the interposition of matter that we have to treat in a quieter
style, we can return with good effect to that which must be treated forcibly,
thus making the tide of eloquence to ebb and flow like the sea. It follows
from this, that the majestic style, if it is to be long continued, ought not
to be unvaried, but should alternate at intervals with the other styles; the
speech or writing as a whole, however, being referred to that style which is
the prevailing one.