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according to the invariable acceptation of the words the anchor of repentance in the port of sincerity wrong and contumery, can signify nothing but and justice, which is the harbour of safety; lest the wrongs sustained by the oppressor, and the the tempest of our vengeance make thee perish in contumely or abuse thrown upon the proud man; the sea of that punishment thou hast deserved.” though it is plain that Shakspeare used them in a But if these laboured conceits are ridiculous in different sense : neither is the word spurn a sub-poetry, they are still more inexcusable in prose : stantive, yet as such he has inserted it in these lines : such as we find them frequently occur in Strada's
Bellum Belgicum. Vir descenderat à prætorid The insolence of office, and the spurns
nadi Cæsar ; cùm fæda ilico exorta in portu temThat patient merit of th' unworthy cakes.
pestas; classem impetu disjecit, prætoriam hausit; If we consider the metaphors of the soliloquy, quasi non vecturam amplius Cæsarem Cæsariswe shall find them jumbled together in a strange que fortunam. “Cæsar had scarcely set his feet confusion.
on shore, when a terrible tempest arising, shatterIf the metaphors were reduced to painting, we ed the fleet even in the harbour, and sent to the should find it a very difficult task, if not altogether bottom the prætorian ship, as if he resolved it 'impracticable, to represent with any propriety out- should no longer carry Cæsar and his fortunes.” rageous fortune using her slings and arrows, be- Yet this is modest in comparison of the followtween which indeed there is no sort of analogy in ing flowers: Alii, pulsis é tormento catenis disnature. Neither can any figure be more ridiculous- cerpti sectique, dimidiato corpore pugnabant sibi ly absurd than that of a man taking arms against superstites, ac peremtæ partis ultores. “Others, a sea, exclusive of the incongruous medley of slings, dissevered and cut in twain by chain-shot, fought arrows, and seas, justled within the compass of with one-half of their bodies that remained, in reone reflection. What follows is a strange rhapsody venge of the other half that was slain.” of broken images of sleeping, dreaming, and shift- Homer, Horace, and even the chaste Virgil, is ing off a coil, which last conveys no idea that can not free from conceits. The latter, speaking of a be represented on canvass. A man may be ex- man's hand cut off in battle, says, hibited shuffling off his garments or his chains : but how he should shuffle off a coil, which is an
Te decisa suum, Laride, dextera quærit;
Semianimesque micant digiti, ferrumque retractant: other term for noise and tumult, we cannot comprehend. Then we have “long-lived calamity," thus enduing the amputated hand with sense and and "time armed with whips and scorns;" and volition. This, to be sure, is a violent figure, and "patient merit spurned at by unworthiness ;” and hath been justly condemned by some accurate cri"misery with a bare bodkin going to make his own tics; but we think they are too severe in extending quietus," which at best is but a mean metaphor. the same censure to some other passages in the These are followed by figures "sweating under most admired authors. fardels of burdens," "puzzled with doubts," "shak- Virgil, in his sixth Eclogue, says, ing with fears," and "Aying from evils.” Finally, we see "resolution sicklied o'er with pale thought,”
Omnia quæ, Phæbo quondam meditante, beatus
Audiit Eurotas, jussitque ediscere lauros, a conception like that of representing health by
Ille canit. sickness; and a "current of pith turned awry so as to lose the name of ion," which is both an
Whate'er, when Phæbus bless'd the Arcadian plala
Eurolas heard and taught his bays the strain. error in fancy, and a solecism in sense. In a The senior sung-word, this soliloquy may be compared to the Ægri somnia, and the Tobula, cujus vanæ fin- And Pope has copied the conceit in his Pastorals, gentur species.
Thames beard the numbers as he fow'd along, But while we censure the chaos of broken, in
And bade his willows learn the mourning song. congruous metaphors, we ought also to caution the young poet against the opposite extreme of pursu- Vida thus begins his first Eclogue, ing a metaphor, until the spirit is quite exhausted
Dicite, vos muse, et juvenum memorate querelas in a succession of cold conceits; such as we see in
Dicite : nam motas ipsas ad carmina cautes, the following letter, said to be sent by Tamerlane
Et requi sse suos perhibent vaga flumina cursus to the Turkish emperor Bajazet. “Where is the
Say, heavenly muse, their youthful frays reheause, monarch that dares oppose our arms? Where is
Begin, ye daughters of immortal verse; the potentate who doth not glory in being number- Exulting rocks have own'd the power of song, ed among our vassals? As for thee, descended And rivers listen'd as they dow'd along. from a Turcoman mariner, since the vessel of thy unbounded ambition hath been wrecked in the Racine adopts the same bold figure in his Phædra · gulf of thy self-love, it would be proper that thou la not qui l'apporta recule epouvante : shouldest furl the sails of thy temerity, and cast Tho wave that bore him, backwards shrunk appally
Even Milton has indulged himself in the same there is no impropriety in saying such a man u license of expression
true as steel, firm as a rock, inflexible as an oak,
unsteady as the ocean; or in describing a disposiAs when to them who sail
tion cold as ice, or fickle as the wind ;—and these Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
expressions are justified by constant practice ;-we Sabæan odour from the spicy shore
shall hazard an assertion, that the comparison of a Of Araby the blest ; with such delay
chaste woman to an icicle is proper and picturesque, Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league,
as it obtains only in the circumstances of cold and Cheer'd with the grateful smell, old ocean smiles,
purity: but that the addition of its being curdled Shakspeare says
from the purest snow, and hanging on the temple
of Diana, the patroness of virginity, heightens the -_I've seen Th'ambitious ocean swell, and rage, and foam,"
whole into a most beautiful simile, that gives a very To be exalted with the threat'ning clouds.
respectable and amiable idea of the character in
question. And indeed more correct writers, both ancient
The simile is no more than an extended metaand modern, abound with the same kind of figure, phor, introduced to illustrate and beautify the subwhich is reconciled to propriety, and even invested ject; it ought to be apt, striking, properly pursued, with beauty, by the efficacy of the prosopopoeia, and adorned with all the graces of poetical melody, which personifies the object. Thus, when Virgil But a simile of this kind ought never to proceed says Enipeus heard the sons of Apollo, he raises from the mouth of a person under any great agitaup, as by enchantment, the idea of a river god tion of spirit; such as a tragic character overcrowned with sedges, his head raised above the whelmed with grief, distracted by contending cares, stream, and in his countenance the expression of
or agonizing in the pangs of death. The language pleased attention. By the same magic we see, in of passion will not admit simile, which is alway, the couplet quoted from Pope's Pastorals, old father the result of study and deliberation. We will not Thames leaning upon his urn, and listening to the allow a hero the privilege of a dying swan, which poet's strain.
is said to chant its approaching fate in the most Thus in the regions of poetry, all nature, even melodious strain ; and therefore nothing can be the passions and affections of the mind, may be
more ridiculously unnatural, than the representapersonified into picturesque figures for the enter-tion of a lover dying upon the stage with a laboured tainment of the reader. Ocean smiles or frowns, simile in his mouth. as the sea is calm or tempestuous; a Triton rules
The orientals, whose language was extremely on every angry billow; every mountain has its figurative, have been very careless in the choice of Nymph; every stream its Naiad; every tree its their similes; provided the resemblance obtained Hamadryad ; and every art its Genius. We can in one circumstance, they minded not whether they not therefore assent to those who censure Thomson disagreed with the subject in every other respect. as licentious for using the following figure : · Many instances of this defect in congruity may be O vale of bliss! O softly gwelling hills!
culled from the most sublime parts of Scripture. On which the power of cultivation lies,
Homer has been blamed for the bad choice of his And joys to see the wonders of his toil
similes on some particular occasions. He comWe can not conceive a more beautiful image steak broiling on the coals in the Odyssey. His
pares Ajax to an ass in the lliad, and Ulysses to a than that of the genius of agriculture distinguished admirers have endeavoured to excuse him, by reby the implements of his art, imbrowned with la: minding us of the simplicity of the age in which he bour, glowing with health, crowned with a garland of foliage, flowers , and fruit, lying stretched at his wrote ; but they have not been able to prove that
uny ideas of dignity or importance were, even in ease on the brow of a gentle swelling bill, and con- those days, affixed to the character of an ass, or the templating with pleasure the happy effects of his
quality of a beef-collop; therefore, they were very own industry. Neither can we join issue against Shakspeare hero ought to be represented.
improper illustrations for any situation, in which a for this comparison, which hath likewise incurred
Virgil has degraded the wife of king Latinus, by the censure of the critice.
comparing her, when she was actuated by the Fu. -The noble sister of Poplicola,
ry, to a top which the boys Insh for diversion.
This doubtless is a low image, though in other reThat's curdled by the frost from purest snow,
spects the comparison is not destitute of propriety; And hangs on Dian's temple
but he is much more justly censured for the follow. 'This is no more than illustrating a quality of the ling simile, which has no 'rort of reference to the mind, by comparing it with a sensible object. If subject. Speaking of Turnur he says,
The moon of Rome; chaste as the icicle
Medio dux agmine Turnus
Here we not only find the most scrupulous proVertur arma tenens, et toto vertice supra est.
priety, and the happiest choice, in comparing the Ceu septem surgens setlatis amnibus alius
Thracian bard to Philomel the poet of the grove;
but also the most beautiful description, containing
a fine touch of the pathos, in which last particular But Turnus, chief amidst the warrior train,
indeed Virgil, in our opinion, excels all other poets, In armour towers the tallest on the plain. The Ganges thus by seven rich streams supplied,
whether ancient or modern. A mighty mass devolves in silent pride:
One would imagine that nature had exhausted Thus Nilus pours from Iris prolific urn,
, in order to embellish the poems of Homer, When from the fields o'erflow?d his vagrant streams return Virgil, and Milton, with similes and metaphors.
The first of these very often uses the comparison These no doubt are majestic images; but they bear
of the wind, the whirlwind, the hail, the torrent, to no sort of resemblance to a hero glittering in ar
express the rapidity of his combatants; but when mour at the head of his forces. Horace has been ridiculed by some shrewd critics horses that drew the chariot of Juno, he raises
he comes to describe the velocity of the immortal for this comparison, which, however, we think is
his ideas to the subject, and, as Longinus obmore defensible than the former. Addressing him. self to Munatius Plancus, he says:
serves, measures every leap by the whole breadth
of the horizon.
Οσσον δερουδες ανηρ δεν οφθαλμοισιν
Hμενος εν σκοπία, λευσσων επι οινοπα παντα,
Τοσσον επιθρωσκουσι θεων υψηχες ιππα.
For as a watchman from some rock on high
O'er the wide main extends his boundless eye; Sweeps off the clouds, nor teems perpetual showers,
Through such a space of air with thundering sound So let thy wisdom, free from anxious strife,
At ev'ry leap th' immortal coursers bound la mellow wine dissolve the cares of life. Dunkin.
The celerity of this goddess seems to be a favourite The analogy, it must be confessed, is not very idea with the poet ; for in another place he comstriking; but nevertheless it is not altogether void of propriety. The poet reasons thus: as the south pares it to the thought of a traveller revolving in
his mind the different places he had seen, and passwind, though generally attended with rain, is often known to dispel the clouds , and render the weather the lightning flies from east to west.
ing through them in imagination more swift than serere; so do you, though generally on the rack
Homer's best similes have been copied by Vir. of though, remember to relax sometimes, and drown your cares in wine. As the south wind is not al- gil
, and almost every succeeding poet, howsoever
they may have varied in the manner of expression. ways moist, so you ought not always to be dry. A few instances of inaccuracy, or mediocrity, can
In the third book of the Iliad, Menelaus seeing
Paris, is compared to a hungry lion espying a hind never derogate from the superlative merit of Homer
or a goat: and Virgil, whose poems are the great magazines, replete with every species of beauty and magnifi- Ωστι λεων χαρη μεγαλα επι σωματι κυρσας cence, partieularly abounding with similes, which
Eυρων και ελαφον κεραον, η αγριον αγα, etc. astonish, delight, and transport the reader. Every simile ought not only to be well adapted
So joys the lion, if a branching deer
Or mountain goat his bulky prize appear; to the subject, but also to include every excellence
In vain the youths oppose, the mastiffs bay, of description, and to be coloured with the warmest The lordly savage rends the pancing prey. tints of poetry. Nothing can be more happily hit Thus fond of vengeance with a furious bound off than the following in the Georgics, to which the
In clanging arms he leaps upon the ground poet compares Orpheus lamenting his lost Eurydice.
The Mantuan bard, in the tenth book of the Qualis populeå merens Philomela sub umbra Æneid, applies the same simile to Mezentius, when Amigos queritur fuis, quos durus arator
he beholds Acron in the battle. Observars nido implumes detraxit; at illa Flet noctem, ramoque sedens miserabile carmen
Impastus stabula alta leo ceu sæpe peragmans Integrat, et mesus late loca questibus impel
(Suadet enim vesana fames) si forte fugacem
Conspexit capream, aut surgentem in cornua cervum, Bo Philomela, from th’umbrageous wood,
Gaudet hians immane, comasque arrexit, et hæret
Visceribus super accumbens: lavit improba teter
Then as a hungry lion, who beholde
A gamesome goal who frisks about the foldes
Or beamy stag that grazes on the plain;
Συν δ' Eυρος τι, Νοτος τ' επισε, Ζεφυρος τε δυσεως,
Και Βορεης αιθρογενετης μεγα λυμα κυλινδα». .
We know that such a contention of contrary
blasts could not possibly exist in nature ; for ever Dryden. sin hurricanes the winds blow alternately from dif
ferent points of the compass. Nevertheless Vir*The reader will perceive that Virgil has im.
gil adopts the description, and adds to its extravaproved the simile in one particular, and in another
gance. fallen short of his original. The description of the
Incubuere mari, totumque å sedibus imis lion shaking his mane, opening his hideous jaws
Unå Eurusque Notusque ruunt, creberque procellis distained with the blood of his prey, is great and
Africus. picturesque; but on the other hand, he has omitted the circumstance of devouring it without being
Here the winds not only blow together, but they intimidated, or restrained by the dogs and youths turn the wbole body of the ocean topsy-turvy. that surround him; a circumstance that adds
East, west, and south, engage with furious sweep, greatly to our idea of his strength, intrepidity, and
And from its lowest bed upturn the foaming deep importance.
The north wind, however, is still more mischietESSAY XVII.
Stridens aquilone procella Of all the figures in poetry, that called the hy- Velum adversa ferit, fluctusque ad sidera rollil perbole, is managed with the greatest difficulty.
The sail then Boreas rends with hideous cry, The hyperbole is an exaggeration with which the
And whirls the madning billows to the sky. muse is indulged for the better illustration of her subject, when she is warmed into enthusiasm. The motion of the sea between Scylla and Quintilian calls it an ornament of the bolder kind. Charybdis is still more magnified; and Ætna is Demetrius Phalereus is still more severe. He says exhibited as throwing out volumes of flame, whic the hyperbole is of all forms of speech the most brush the stars.* Such expressk us as these ar.: frigid; Manete do v rabows fuxo Tetor Tartev: not intended as a real representation of the thing but this must be understood with some grains of specified; they are designed to strike the reader's allowance. Poetry is animated by the passions; imagination ; but they generally serve as marks and all the passions exaggerate. Passion itself is of the author's sinking under his own ideas, who, a magnifying medium. There are beautiful in-apprehensive of injuring the greatness of his stances of the hyperbole in the Scripture, which a own conception, is hurried into excess and extra. reader of sensibility can not read without being vagance. strongly affected. The difficulty lies in choosing Quintilian allows the use of hyperbole, when such hyperboles as the subject will admit of; for, words are wanting to express any thing in its just according to the definition of Theophrastus, the strength or due energy: then, he says, it is better frigid in style is that which exceeds the expression to exceed in expression than fall short of the consuitable to the subject. The judgment does not ception; but he likewise observes, that there is no revolt against Homer for representing the horses figure or form of speech so apt to run iuto fustian. of Ericthonius running over the standing corn Nec alia magis via in narocincay itur, without breaking off the heads, because the whole If the chaste Virgil has thus trespassed upon is considered as a fable, and the north wiid is re- poetical probability, what can we expect from presented as their sire; but the imagination is a Lucan but hyperboles even more ridiculously ex. little startled, when Virgil, in imitation of this travagant? He represents the winds in contest, hyperbole, exhibits Camilla as flying over it with the sea in suspense, doubting to which it shall give put even touching the tops:
way. He affirms, that its motion would have been
so violent as to produce a second deluge, had not Illa vel intactæ segetis per summa volaret
Jupiter kept it under by the clouds ; and as to the Gramina
ship during this dreadful uproar, the sails touch This elegant author, we are afraid, has upon the clouds, while the keel strikes the ground. sume other occasions degenerated into the frigid,
Speaking of the first, he says, in straining to improve upon his great master.
Tollimur in cælum curvato gurgite, et iidem Homer in the Odyssey, a work which Longinus
Subductà ad manes imos descendimus unde. does not scruple to charge with bearing the marks of old age, describes a storm in which all the four or the other, winds were concerned together.
Attolliique globos flammarum, et sidera lambik
Nubila tanguntur velis, et terra carina.
The ode and satire admit of the boldest hyThis image of dashing water at the stars, Sirperboles
, such exaggerations suit the impetuous Richard Blackmore has produced in colours truly effect in exposing folly, and exciting horror against
warmth of the one; and in the other have a good ridiculous. Describing spouting whales in his vice. They may be likewise successfully used in Prince Arthur, he makes the following comparison : comedy, for moving and managing the powers of
VERSE is an harmonious arrangement of long vate the admiration with novelty, very often shocks and short syllables, adapted to different kinds of the understanding with extravagance. Of this na- poetry, and owes its origin entirely to the measured ture is the whole description of the Cyclops, both cadence, or music, which was used when the first in the Odyssey of Homer, and in the Æneid of songs or hymns were recited. This music, divided Virgil. It must be owned, however, that the Latin into different parts, required a regular return of the poet, with all his merit, is more apt than his great same measure, and thus every strophe, antistrooriginal to dazzle us with false fire, and practise phe, and stanza, contained the same number of upon the imagination with gay conceits, that will feet. To know what constituted the different kinds not bear the critic's examination. There is not in of rhythmical feet among the ancients, with respect any of Homer's works now subsisting such an to the number and quantity of their syllables, we example of the false sublime, as Virgil's descrip-have nothing to do but to consult those who have tion of the thunderbolts forging under the ham- written on grammar and prosody; it is the busimers of the Cyclops.
ness of a schoolmaster, rather than the accomplish
ment of a man of taste. Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosa
Various essays have hren made in different Addiderant, rutili tres ignis et alitis Austri.
countries to compare the characters of ancient and Three rays of writhen rain, of fire thrce more,
modern versification, and to point out the difference or winged southern winds, and cloudy store, beyond any possibility of mistake. But they have As many parts, the dreadful mixture frame.
made distinctions, where in fact there was no dif
Dryden. ference, and left the criterion unobserved. They This is altogether a fantastic piece of affecta- have transferred the name of rhyme to a regular tion, of which we can form no sensible image, and repetition of the same sound at the end of the line, serves to chill the fancy, rather than warm the and set up this vile monotony as the characteristic admiration of a judging reader.
of modern verse, in contradistinction to the feet of Extravagant hyperbole is a weed that grows in the ancients, which they pretend the poetry of modgreat plenty through the works of our admired ern languages will not admit. Shakspeare. In the following description, which
Rhyme, from the Greek word Pu@kos, is nothing hath been much celebrated, one sees he has an eye
else but number, which was essential to the ancient, to Virgil's thunderbolts.
as well as to the modern versification. As to the
jingle of similar sounds, though it was never used O, then I see queen Mab hath been with you. by the ancients in any regular return in the midShe is the fairies' midwise; and she comes dle, or at the end of the line, and was by no means In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
deemed essential to the versification, yet they did On the fore-finger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomies
not reject it as a blemish, where it occurred without Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
the appearance of constraint. We meet with it Her wagon-spokey made of long spinner's legs; often in the epithets of Homer: Apy upsolo B1910 The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
Αναξ Ανδρων Αγαμεμνων--almost the whole first ode 'The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
of Anacreon is what we call rhyme. The followThe collars, of the moonshine's wal'ry beams, etc.
ing line of Virgil has been admired for the similiEven in describing fantastic beings there is a pro-tude of sound in the first two words. priety to be observed; but surely nothing can be
Ore Arethusa tuo siculus confunditur undis. more revolting to common sense, than this numbering af the moon-beams among the other imple- ' Rhythmus, or number, is certainly essential to ments of queen Mab's harness, which, though ex- verse, whether in the dead or living languages tremely slender and diminutive, are nevertheless and the real difference between the two is this: objects of the touch, and may be conceived capa- the number in ancient verse relates to the feet, and ole of use.
in modern poctry to the syllables; for to assert that