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Doing annoyance to the treach'sous feet,
Richard II. alt 3. f. 2.
After a long voyage it was customary among the ancients to salute the natal soil. A long voyage be. ing of old a greater enterprise than at present, the safe return to one's country after much fatigue and danger, was a delightful circumstance, and it was natural to give the natal foil a temporary life, in order to sympathise with the traveller. See an example, Againennon of Eschilus, act 3. in the beginning. Regret for leaving a place one has been accustomed to, has the same effect. *
Terror produceth the same effect : it is communicated in thought to every thing around, even to things inanimate :
Speaking of Polyphemus,
Clamorem immenfum tollit, quo pontus et omnes
Æneid. iii. 672.
As when old Ocean roars,
llind ii. 249.
Philoclctes of Sophocles, at the close.
Go, view the settling fea. The stormy wind is laid ; but the billows still tremble on the deep, and seem to tear the blast.
Racine, in the tragedy of Phedra, describing the feamonster that destroyed Hippolytus, conceives the sea itself to be struck with terror as well as the spectators :
A man also naturally communicates his joy to all objects around, animate or inanimate :
As when to them who fail
Paradise Loji, b. t.
I have been profuse of examples, to show what power many passions have to animate their objects. In all the foregoing examples, the personification, if I mistake not, is so complete as to afford.conviction, momentary indeed, of life and intelligence. But it is evident from numberless instances, that personification is not always fo complete : it is a common figure in descriptive poetry, understood to be the language of the writer, and not of the persons he defcribes : in this case, it feldom or never comes up to conviction, even momentary, of life and intelligence. I give the following examples.
First in his eart the glorious lamp was seen,
. Invested with bright rays ; jocund to rin His longitude through heav'n's high road : the gray Dawn and the Pleiades betore him danc'd, Shedding sweet influence. Lefs bright the moon, But opposite, in levell’d west was set His mirror, with full face borrowing her light. From him ; for other light she needed none.
Paradije Loft, b.7. 1. 370.*
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Romeo and Juliet, ad 3. fc. 7.
But look, the morn, in ruffet mantle clad,
Hamlet, alt 1. f. I.
It may, I presume, be taken for granted, that, in the foregoing instances, the personification, either with the poet or his reader, amounts not to a conviction of intelligence: that the sun, the moon, the day, the morn, are not here understood to be sensible beings. What then is the nature of this personification I think it must be referred to the imagination : the inanimate object is imagined to be a sensible being, but without any conviction, even for a moment, that it really is so. Ideas or fictions of imagination have power to raise emotions in the mind it and when any thing inanimate is, in imagination, supposed to be a sensible being, it makes by that means a greater figure than when an idea is formed of it according to
* The challity of the English language, which in common usage distinguishes by genders no words but what lignify beings male and female, gives thus a fine opportunity for the prosopopaia ; a beauty unknown in other languages, where every word is maleuline or feminine.
+ See Appendix, containing definitions and explanations of terms, $28.
truth. This sort of personification, however, is far inferior to the other in elevation. Thus personification is of two kinds. The first, being more noble, may be termed passionate personification : the other, more humble, descriptive personification ; because feldom or never is personification in a description carried to conviction.
The imagination is so lively and active, that its images are raised with very little effort ; and this justifies the frequent use of descriptive personification, This figure abounds in Milton's Allegro, and Pénje. roso.
Abstract and general terms, as well as particular objects, are often necessary in Poetry. Such termis however are not well adapted to poetry, because they suggest not any image : I can readily form an image of Alexander or Achilles in wrath ; but I cannot form an image of wrath in the abstract, or of wrath independent of a person. Upon that account, in. works addressed to the imagination, abstract terms are frequently personified ; but such personification rests upon imagination merely, not upon convi&ion.
Sed mihi vel Tellus optem prius ima dehiscat ;
Eneid. iv. I. 24.
Thus, to explain the effects of flander, it is imagined to be a voluntary agent.
No, 'tis Slander ;
Maids, matrons : nay, the secrets of the grave
Shakespear, Cymbeline, act 3. fc. 4. As also human passions : take the following example.
-For Pleasure and Revenge Have ears more deaf than adders, to the voice Of any true decision.
Troilus and Crellida, act 2. sc. 4. Virgil explains fame and its effe&s by a still greater variety of action.* And Shakespear personifies death and its operations in a manner singularly fanciful :
Within the hollow crown
Richard II. act 3. st. 4.
* Æneid iv. 173.