« PreviousContinue »
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.
Of yonder flect a bold discovery make..
An impious mortal gave the daring wound.
To my advent'rous song.
2. An attribute of the effe& expressed as an attribute of the cause.
Quos periiffe ambos mifera censebam in mari.
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height.
3. An effect expressed 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.
And the merry bells ring round,
4. An attribute of a subject bestowed upon one of its parts or members.
Romeo and Juliet, act 3. fc. 7.
Oh, lay by
Fair Penitent, a&t 3.
And ready now
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 pupid moment motionless she stood.
Suminer, l. 1336. 8. A circumstance connected with a subject, expressed as a quality of the subject.
'Tis ours the chance of fighting fields to try,
Iliad 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, astonisb'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 :
Submerfafque 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. .
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,
Richard II. act 1. fc. 3.
Figuring human life to be a voyage at sea :
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
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!