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blance, some original likeness in nature, some correspondence and easy transition, or metaphors are shorking and confused.
The beauty of them displays itself in their easiness and propriety, where they are naturally introduced : but where they are forced and crowd. ed, too frequent and various, and do not rise out of the course of thought, but are constrained and pressed into the service, instead of making the discourse more lively and cheerful, they make it sullen, dull, and gloomy.
You must form your judgment upon the best models and the most celebrated pens, where you will find the metaphor in all its grace and strength, shedding a lustre and beauty on the work. For it ought never to be used but when it gives greater force to the sentence, an illustration to the thought, and insinuates a silent argument in the allusion. The use of metaphors is not only to convey the thought in a more pleasing manner, but to give it a stronger impression, and enforce it on the mind. Where this is not regarded, they are vain and trifling trash; and in a due obser: vance of this, in a pure, chaste, natural expression, consist the justness, beauty, and delicacy of style.
WHAT METAPHORS ARE BEST. They ought not, in an elegant and polite style to be derived from meanings too sublime ; for then the diction would be turgid and bombast. Such was the language of that poet who, describing the
footman's flambeaux at the end of an opera, sung or said,
Now blaz'd a thousand flaming suns, and bade
Grim night retire Nor ought a metaphor to be far-fetched, for then it becomes an enigma. It was thus a gentleman once puzzled his country friend, in telling him, by way of compliment, that he was become a perfect centaur. His honest friend knew nothing of centaurs, but being fond of riding, was hardly ever off his horse.
Another extreme remains, the reverse of the too sublime, and that is, the transferring from subjects too contemptible. Such was the case of that poet quoted by Horace, who, to describe winter, wroteJupiter bybernas canâ nive conspnit Alpes.
Hor. L. II. Sat. 5. O'er the cold Alps Jove spits his hoary snow. Nor was that modern poet more fortunate, whom Dryden quotes, and who, trying his genius upon the same subject, supposed winter
To periwig with snow the baldpate woods. With the same class of wits we may arrange that pleasant fellow, who, speaking of an old lady whom he had affronted, gave us in one short sentence no less than three choice metaphors. I perceive (said he) her back is up ;-I must curry favour-or the fat will be in the fire.
Nor can we omit, that the same word when transferred to the same subjects, produces me
taphors very different, as to propriety or impro, priety.
It is with propriety that we transfer the words to embrace, from human beings to things purely ideal. The metaphor appears just, when we say, to embrace a proposition; to embrace an offer; to embrace an opportunity. Its application perhaps was not quite so elegant, when the old steward wrote to his lord upon the subject of his farm, that, - if he met any oxen, he would not fail to embrace them.'
If then we are to avoid the turgid, the enigmatic, and the base or ridiculous, no other metaphors are left, but such as may be described by negatives; such as are neither turgid, nor enig. matic, nor base and ridiculous.
Such is the character of many metaphors already alledged; among others that of Shakspeare's, where tides are transferred to speedy and determined conduct. Nor does his Wolsey with less propriety moralize upon his fall, in the following beautiful metaphor, taken from vegetable nature :
This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth
And-uips bis rool In such metaphors, besides their intrinsic elegance, we may say the reader is flattered; I mean flattered by being left to discover something for himself.
There is one observation, which will at the
same time show both the extent of this figure, and how natural it is to all men.
There are metaphors so obvious, and of course so naturalized, that, ceasing to be metaphors, they become (as it were) the proper words. It is after this manner we say, a sharp fellow; a great orator; the foot of a mountain; the eye of a needle; the bed of a river: to ruminate, to ponder, to edify, &c. &c.
These we by no means reject, and yet the metaphors we require we wish to be something more, that is, to be formed under the respectable condi. tions here established.
We observe too, that a singular use may be made of metaphors either to exalt or to depreciate, according to the sources from which we derive them. In ancient story, Orestes was by some called the murderer of his mother; by others the avenger of his father. The reasons will appear, by referring to the fact. The poet Simonides was offered money to celebrate certain mules, that had won a race. Tlie sum being pitiful, he said, with disdain, he should not write upon demi
-A more competent sum was offered, he then began,
Hail! Danghters of the generous horse,
That skims, like wind, along the course, There are times, when, in order to exalt, we may call beggars, petitioners; and pickpockets, collectors; other times, when, in order to depreciate, we may call petitioners, beggars; and collectors, pickpockets. But enough of this.
We say no more of metaphors, but that it is a general caution with regard to every species, not to mix them, and that more particularly, if taken from subjects which are contrary.
ON PUNCTUATION, PUNCTUATION is the art of marking in writing the several pauses, or rests, between sentences, and the parts of sentences according to their proper quantity or proportion, as they are expressed in a just and accurate pronunciation.
As the several articulate sounds, the syllables and words, of which sentences consist, are marked by letters : so the rests and pauses, between sentences and their parts, are marked by points.
But, though the several articulate sounds are pretty fully and exactly marked by letters of known and determinate power; yet the several pauses, which are used in a just pronunciation of discourse, are very imperfectly expressed by points.
For the different degrees of connection between the several parts of sentences, and the different pauses in a just pronunciation, which express those degrees of connection according to their proper value, admit of great variety; but the whole number of points, which we have to express this variety, amounts only to four.
Hence it is, that we are under a necessity of expressing pauses of the same quantity, on different occasions, by differeut points; and more frequently