« ПретходнаНастави »
"God and his son except,
And speaking of Adam and Eve, and their sons and daughters, he confounds them all together in a manner for which any Irishman would have been laughed to
‘Adam, the gondliest man of men since born,
Yet Addison, who notices these blunders, calls them only little blemishes."
Scotchman. “He does so; and he quotes Horace, who tells us we should impute such venial errors to a pardonable inadvertency; and, as I recollect, Addison makes another very just remark, that the ancients, who were actuated by a spirit of candour, not of cavilling, invented a variety of figures of speech, on purpose to palliate little errors of this nature.”
“Really, gentlemen,” interrupted the Hibernian, who had sat all this time in silence that spoke his grateful sense of the politeness of his companions, "you will put the finishing stroke to my obligations to you, if you will prove that the ancient figures of speech were invented to palliate Irish blunders.”
Englishman. “No matter for what purpose they were invented; if we can make so good a use of them we shall be satisfied, especially if you are pleased. I will, however, leave the burden of the proof upon my friend here, who has detected me already in quoting from Pope's Iliad instead of Homer's. I am sure he will manage the ancient figures of rhetoric better than I should ; however, if I can fight behind his shield, I shall not shun the combat."
Scotchman. “I stand corrected for quoting Greek. Now I will not go to Longinus for my tropes and fig. ures; I have just met with a little book on the subject, which I put into my pocket to-day, intending to finish it on my journey, but I have been better employed."
He drew from his pocket a book called“ Deinology, or the Union of Reason and Elegance.” “Look," said he, “ look at this long list of tropes and figures; among them we could find apologies for every species of Irish bulls; but, in mercy, I will select, from the twenty chief and most moving figures of speech,' only the oxymoron, as it is a favourite with Irish orators. In the oxymoron contradictions meet: to reconcile these, Irish ingenuity delights. I will further spare four out of the seven figures of less note : emphasis, enallage, and the hysteron proteron you must have; because emphasis graces Irish diction, enallage unbinds it from strict grammatical letters, and hysteron proteron allows it sometimes to put the cart before the horse. Of the eleven grammatical figures, Ireland delights ch efly in the antimeria, or changing one part of speech for another, and in the ellipsis or defect. Of the remaining long list of figures, the Irish are particularly disposed to the epizeuxis, as indeed, indeed—at all at all, and antanaclasis, or double meaning. The tautotes, or repetition of the same thing, is, I think, full as common among the English. The hyperbole and catachresis are so nearly related to a bull, that I shall dwell upon them with pleasure. You must listen to the definition of a catachresis: – A catachresis is the boldest of any trope. Necessity makes it borrow and employ an expression or term contrary to the thing it means to express.'
“ Upon my word, this is something like a description of an Irish bull,” interrupted the Hibernian.
Scotchman. “ For instance, it has been said, Equitare in arundine longa, to ride on horseback on a stick. Reason condemns the contradiction, but necessity has allowed it, and use has made it intelligible. The same trope is employed in the following metaphorical expression :—The seeds of the gospel have been watered with the blood of the martyrs."
Englishman. " That does seem an absurdity, I grant; but you know great orators trample on impossibilities."*
Scotchman. " And great poets get the better of them. You recollect Shakspeare says,
Now bid me run,
Yea, get the better of them.'” Englishman. “And Corneille, in the Cid, I believe, makes his hero a compliment upon his having performed impossibilities–Vos mains seules ont le droit de vaincre un invincible.'”+
Scotchman. “Ay, that would be a bull in an Irish. man, but it is only an hyperbole in a Frenchman.”
Irishman. “Indeed, this line of Corneille's out-hyper boles the hyperbole, considered in any but a prophetic light; as a prophecy, it exactly foretels the taking of Bonaparte's invincible standard by the glorious fortysecond regiment of the British : 'Your hands alone have a right to vanquish the invincible.' By-the-by, the phrase ont le droit cannot, I believe, be literally translated into English; but the Scotch and Irish have a right translates it exactly. But do not let me interrupt my country's defence, gentlemen; I am heartily glad to find Irish blunderers may shelter themselves in such good company in the ancient sanctuary of the hyperbole. But I am afraid you must deny admittance to the poor mason, who said, “This house will stand as long as the world, and longer.'”
Scotchman. “Why should we 'shut the gates of mercy' upon him, when we pardon his betters for more flagrant sins; for instance, Mr. Pope, who, in his Essay on Criticism, makes a blunder, or rather uses an hyperbole stronger than that of your poor Irish mason :
"When first young Maro in his noble mind
A work t' outlast immortal Rome design'd.' And to give you a more modern case, I lately heard an English shopkeeper say to a lady, in recommendation of his goods, · Ma'am, it will wear for ever, and make you a petticoat afterward.'”
Irishman. “Upon my word, I did not think you could have found a match for the mason; but what will you say to my countryman who, on meeting an acquaintance, accosted him with this ambiguous compliment • When first I saw you I thought it was you, but now I see it is your brother.' ”
Scotchman. “If I were not afraid you would take me for a pedant, I should quote a sentence from Cicero that is not far behind this blunder."
Irishman. “I can take you for nothing but a friend : pray let us have the Latin."
Scotchman.—“It is one of Cicero's compliments to Cæsar— Qui, cum ipse imperator in toto inperio populi Romani unus esset, esse me alterum passus est."
* And when Cæsar was the only emperor within the dominion of Rome, he suffered me to be another.
Perhaps," continued the Scotchman,“ my way of pronouncing Latin sounds strangely to you, gentlemen.”
Irishman." And perhaps ours would be unintelligible to Cicero himself, if he were to overhear us: I fancy we are all so far from right, that we need not dispute about degrees of wrong."
The coach stopped at this instant, and the conversation was interrupted
BATH COACH CONVERSATION.
AFTER our travellers had dined, the conversation was renewed by the English gentleman's repeating Goldsmith's celebrated lines on Burke:
“Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,
and thought of convincing, while they thought of dining;
* What humour and wit there are in that poem of Goldsmith's! and where is there any thing equal to his * Traveller?!”
Irishman. “Yet this is the man who used to be the butt of the company for his bulls.”
Englishman. “ No, not for his bulls, but for blurting out opinions in conversation that could not stand the test of Dr. Johnson's critical powers. But what would become of the freedom of wit and humour if every word that came out of our mouths were subject to the tax of a professed critic's censure, or if every septence were to undergo a logical examination? It would be well for Englishmen if they were a little more inclined, like your open-hearted countrymen, to blurt out their opinions freely.”
Scotchman. “I cannot forgive Dr. Johnson for calling Goldsmith an inspired idiot; I confess I see no idiotism, but much inspiration, in his works.”
Irishman. But we must remember, that if Johnson did laugh at Goldsmith, he would let no one else laugh
at him, and he was his most sincere and active friend, The world would, perhaps, never have seen the Vicar of Wakefield' if Johnson had not recommended it to a bookseller; and Goldsmith might have died in jail if the doctor had not got him a hundred pounds for it, when poor Goldsmith did not know it was worth a shil. ling. When we recollect this, we must forgive the doctor for calling him, in jest, an inspired idiot."
Scotchman. “Especially as Goldsmith has wit enough to bear him up against a thousand such jests."
Englishman. “It is curious to observe how nearly wit and absurdity are allied. We may forgive the genius of Ireland if he sometimes
Leap his light courser o'er the bounds of taste.'
Even English genius is not always to be restrained within the strict limits of common sense. For instance, Young is witty when he says,
How would a miser startle to be told
But Johnson is, I am afraid, absurd when he says,
* Turn from the glittering bribe your scornful eye,
Nor sell for gold what gold can never buy,'" "One case, to be sure, must be excepted," said the Irishman; "a patriot may sell his reputation, and the purchaser get nothing by it. But, gentlemen, I have just recollected an example of an Irish bull in which are all the happy requisites, incongruity, confusion, and laughable confusion, both in thought and expression. When Sir Richard Steele was asked how it happened that his countrymen made so many bulls, he replied, 'It is the effect of climate, sir; if an Englishman were born in Ireland, he would make as many."
Scotchman. “This is an excellent bull, I allow; but I think I can match it."
Englishman. “ And if he can, you will allow yoursell to be fairly vanquished ?"
Irishman. “Most willingly."
Scotchman. “ Then I shall owe my victory to our friend Dr. Johnson, the leviathan of English literature. In his celebrated preface to Shakspeare he says, that he has not only shown human nature as it acts in real