I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chiasm in One of Tocqueville’s Best-Known Lines

I believe this figure is intentional. Apart from Tocqueville being a lucid writer with a great command of the pen, it also includes repetitio on “America.” If he wasn’t consciously intending these figurae to express the brilliant aphorism, then he gives us little more than redundancy, which he is not given to do.

A. America is great
B. because America is good,
B. and if America ever ceases to be good,
A. America will cease to be great.

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