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Did not Ofian hear a voice ? or is it the sound of days that are no more? Often, like the evening fun, comes the memory of former times on my soul.
His countenance is settled from war; and is calm as the evening-beam, that from the cloud of the west looks on Cona's Glent vale.
Sorrow, like a cloud on the sun, shades the foul of Clersammor.
The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the foul.
Pleasant are the words of the song, said Cuchullin, and lovely are the tales of other tiines. They are like the calm dew of the morning on the hill of roes, when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale.
These quotations are from the poems of Ossian, who abounds with comparisons of this delicate kind, and appears singularly happy in them.*
I proceed to illustrate by particular instances the different means by which comparisons, whether of the one fort or the other, can afford pleasure ; and, in the order above established, I begin with such instances as are agreeable, by suggesting fome unusual resemblance or contrast :
Sweet are the uses of Adversity,
As you like it, act 2. fc. 1.
* The nature and merit of Olian's comparisons is fully illustrated, in a dissertation on the poems of that Autior, by Dr. Blair, professor of shetoric in the college of Edinburgh ; a delicious murlel of criticism,
Had he done so to great and growing men,
Richard II. act 3. sc. 7.
Second part, Henry VI. aci 2. sc. I. Brutus. O Caffius you are yoked with a lamb, That carries anger as the flint bears fire : Who, much entorced, thows a hasty spark, And straight is cold again.
Julius Cæsar, act 4. fc. 3,
Paradise Loft, b. 2.
The last exertion of courage compared to the blaze of a lamp before extinguishing, Tallo Gierufalem, canto 19. st. 22.
None of the foregoing fimiles, as they appear to me, tend to illustrate the
principal subject : and there. fore the pleasure they afford must arise from suggest. ing resemblances that are not obvious : I mean the chief pleasure ; for undoubtedly a beautiful subject introduced to form the simile affords a separate please ure,, which is felt in the fimiles mentioned, particu. larly in that cited from Milton.
The next effect of a comparison in the order mentioned, is to place an object in a strong point of view; which effect is remarkable in the following fimiles :
As when two scales are charg'd with doubtful loads,
Iliad, b. xii. 521.
Ut flos in feptis secretis nafcitur hortis,
The imitation of this beautiful simile by Ariosto, canto 1. ft. 42. falls short of the original. "It is also in part imitated by Pope.*
Lucetta. I do not feck to quench your love's hot fire,
Two Gentlemen of Verona, act 2. sc. In
She never told her love ;
Twelfth Night, act 2. sc. 6.
York. Then, as I said, the Duke, great Bolingbroke, Mounted upon a hot and tiery iteed, Which his afpiring rider fcem'd to know, With flow but itately pace, kept on his course : While all tongues cry'd, God save thee, Bolingbroke.
* Dunciad, b. 4. 1. 405.
Duchess. Alas! poor Richard, where rides he the
while ! York. As in a theatre, the eyes of men, After a well-grac'd actor leaves the Itage, Are idly bent on him that enters next, Thinking his pratile to be tedious : Even so, or with much more contempt men's eyes Did scowl on Richard ; no man cry'd, God save him! No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home; But duft was thrown upon his sacred head : Which with such gentle forrow he shook off, His face still combating with tears and smiles, The badges of his grief and patience ; That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel'd The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted, And barbarism itself have pitied him.
Richard II. act 5. sc. 3. Northumberland. How doth my son and brother ? Thou trembleft, and the whiteness in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand, Even such a man, fo faint, fo fpiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so wo-be-gone, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd ; But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue : And I my Piercy's death, ere thou repori't it.
Second part, Henry IV. alt 1. sc. 3:
Why, then I do but dream on sov'reignty,
Third part, Henry VI. aci 3. sc. 3.
Out, out brief candle !