Page images

ing of the man who listens, to the passion with which he is moved. In the expression bold deed, or audax facinus, we extend to the effect what properly belongs to the cause. But not to waste time by making a commentary upon every expression of this kind, the best way to give a complete view of the subject, is to exhibit a table of the different relations that

may give occasion to this figure. And in viewing the table, it will be observed, that the figure can never have any grace but where the relations are of the most intimate kind.

1. An attribute of the cause expressed as an ata tribute of the effect.

Audax facinus.

Of yonder flect a bold discovery make..

An impious mortal gave the daring wound.

To my advent'rous song.
That with no middle flight intends to soar.

Paradise Loft.

2. An attribute of the effe& expressed as an attribute of the cause.

Quos periiffe ambos mifera cenfebam in mari.


No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height.

Paradise Lot.

3. An effect expreffed as an attribute of the cause.

Jovial wine, Giddy brink, Drowsy night, Musing midnight, Panting height, Astonish'd thought, Mournful gloom.


Casting a dim religious light.

Milton, Comus,

And the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks found.

Milton, Allegro.

4. An attribute of a subject bestowed upon one of its parts or members.

Longing arms.
It was the nightingale and not the lark,
That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear.

Romeo and Juliet, act 3. fc. 7.

Oh, lay by
Those most ungentie looks and angry weapons ;
Unless you mean my griets and killing fears
Should stretch me out at your releniless feet.

Fair Penitent, a&t 3.

And ready now
To stoop with wearied wing and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world.

Paradise Lost, b. 3. 5. A quality of the agent given to the instrument with which it operates.

Why peep your coward swords half out their fells !

6. An attribute of the agent given to the subject upon which it operates. High-climbing hill.


7. A quality of one subject given to another.

Icci, beatis nunc Arabum invides

Horat, Carm. l. 1. ode 29. 04


When sapless age, and weak unable limbs, Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.

Shakespear. By art, the pilot through the boiling deep And howling tempeít, iteers the fearlefs Thip.

Iliad xxiii. 385.. Then, nothing loath, th' enamour'd fair he led, And funk transported on the conscious bed.

Odyfiy viii. 337. A fupid moment motionless the stood.

Suminer, l. 1336. 8. A circumstance connected with a subject, expressed as a quality of the subject.

Breezy summit.

'Tis ours the chance of fighting fields to try,

Tiad i. 301.

Oh! had I dy'd before that well-fought wall.

Odyssey v. 395

From this table it appears, that the adorning a cause with an attribute of the effect, is not so agreeable as the opposite expression. The progress from cause to effect is natural and easy : the opposite progress resembles retrogade motion ;* and therefore panting height, astonish'd thought, are strained and uncouth expressions, which a writer of taste will avoid.

It is not less strained, to apply to a subject in its present state, an epithet that may belong to it in some future state :

Submerjafque obrue puppes.

Ereid, i. 73


* See chap. 1.

And mighty ruins fall.

Iliad v. 415.

Impious sons their mangled fathers wound.

Another rule regards this figure, That the property of one subject ought not to be bestowed upon an. other with which that property is incongruous :

King Rich. --- How dare thy joints forget To pay their awful duty to our presence ?

Richard 11. act 3. sc. 6. The connection between an awful superior and his fubmiffive dependent is so intimate, that an attribute may readily be transferred from the one to the other : but awfulness cannot be fo transferred, because it is inconsistent with fubmiffion. .

[blocks in formation]

Metaphor and Allegory. A Metaphor differs from a fimile, in form only, not in substance : in a simile, the twosubjects are kept distinct in the expression, as well as in the thought; in a metaphor, the two subjects are kept distinct in the thought only, not in the expresfion. A hero resembles a lion, and, upon that resemblance many similes have been raised by Homer and other poets. But instead of resembling a lion, let us take the aid of the imagination, and faign or figure the hero to be a lion : by that variation the fimile is converted into a metaphor; which is carri. ed on by defcribing all the qualities of a lion that resemble those of the hero. The fundamental pleasure here, that of resemblance, belongs to the thoughi.


An additional pleasure arises from the expression : the poet, by figuring his hero to be a lion, goes on to describe the lion in appearance, but in reality the hero: and his description is peculiarly beautiful, by expressing the virtues and qualities of the hero in new terms, which, properly speaking, belong not to him, but to the lion. This will better be understood by examples. A family connected with a common parent, resembles a tree, the trunk and branches of which are connected with a common root : but let us fuppose, that a family is figured, not barely to be like a tree, but to be a tree ;'and then the fimile will be converted into a metaphor, in the following manner :

Edward's sev'r fons, whereof thyself art one,
Were sev'n fair branches springing from one root :
Some of these branches by the dest'nies cut :
But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Glo'ster,
One flourishing branch of his most royal root,
Is hack'd down, and his summer-leaves all faded,
By Envy's hand and Murder's bloody axe.

Richard II. act 1. fc. 3.

Figuring human life to be a voyage at sea :

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in thallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current while it serves,
Os lose our ventures.

Julius Cæsar, act 4. sc. 5

Figuring glory and honour to be a garland of flowers,


Wou'd to heav'n, Thy naine in arms were now as great as mine!

Pr. Henry.

« PreviousContinue »