Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

$7. Tropes may become faulty by being too mean and low. As Tropes fhould not fwell into 2 vain and wild extravagance, so neither should they shrivel into a minute and contemptible littleness. We should neither like children please ourselves with blowing bubbles, and trying what an ample figure and pompous appearance we can give to what is in itself small and trifling, nor Thould we, like a cold blast upon the opening buds and expanding blossoms of the spring, debase a grand and important subject by the introduction of groveling and inadequate Tropes. To call an hill “ a ftony wart,” is a diminutive Trope, and condemned by QUINTILIAN *. And may. we not range in the same class the exprefsions concerning the world, that it is an earthly aungbil, and concerning the clouds, that they are an etherial cullendar, because water descends from them in drops or slender streams? We may meet with such passages in a theological Writer, as, Squeezing of parables, thrusting religion by, parking fpifts, and the world, at the last Judgment cracking about our ears; all which expressions appear to be miserably disproportioned to the

facred

Δημοθενικον μεν ουκ αν λάβοις, ουδε γαρ εςι. Παρα δει τους υποξυλους του τοισι σοφισαις παμπολλα ευρους αν. Ταφες τε γαρ εμψυχους τους γυπας λέγουσιν, ωνπερ εισι μαλισα αξιοι, και αλλα ταυτα ψυχρευονται παμπολλα. ΗERMOGEN, de Ideis, lib.i. in Capit. de Gravit.

• Sunt quædam etiam humiles translationes; ut, Saxea ef zerruca. Lib. viii, cap. 1.

facred and solemn subjects to which they relate.

[ocr errors]

$ 8. We should guard against all far-fetched and obscure Tropes. Let the materials' out of which our Tropes are formed lie within the reach of every person's understanding, if possible, and not coft the learned pains to investigate their propriety, and leave the unlearned only a com pány of hard unintelligible words on which to runninate, when they should gain from our difcourses clear and profitable ideas. If a man, speaking of an house of debauchery, says, it is a dangerous rock of youth, the relation lies easy to an ordinary understanding'; but if he calls it a Syrtes of youth, the Trope is far-fetched and obscure, because few know that the Syrtes are quicksands on the coaft of Africa, which swallow up the ships that are caft upon them. QUINTILIAT will not adınit that “hoary hairs fhould be ftiled the snow of the head, or that JUPITER should be said to foam the wintry Alps with a white snow*." If we were to remove into an hut country, where ice and snow were never known, we should fee the impropriety of addressing the common people in Tropes, taken from the coldness or briftleness of ice, or from the purity or quick-difsolving quality of the snow; and just as abfurd is it for persons in a popular discourse to make

ufe Sunt & duræ, id est, à longinquâ fimilicudine doctæ; ut Capitis nives, & Jupiter bybernas cana nire confpicuit Alpes, Lib. viii. cap. 6. § 1.

use of Tropes beyond the reach of common capacities.

$ 9. Another fault of Tropes consists in their being harsh and unsuitable to what they would represent. There ought to be care taken that there be an agreement or analogy between the Trope and the proper word for which it stands; for when there is not this relation, our expres, sions will be uncouth and unpleasant, if not abfolutely ridiculous,

" It is proper,: says ArisTOTLE, that our Epithets and Tropes should

be suitable. This suitableness is founded on " proportion. If there is not a suitableness, the 4 beauty of our language is loft; for when cons fraries are placed together, they become more “ flagrant. It behoves us to consider, as a purso ple vest is the proper dress of a stripling, what * is the proper array of an ancient perfon, for 2. the same habit does not become both '*.» ARISTOTLE censures Dionysius Æneas for call. ing Poetry, the Noise of Calliope † ; and every one perceives that Dionysius should have chosen

a word Δει δε και τα επιθετα, και τας μεταφορας αρμοτεσας λε"γείν: τυτο δ' εςαι εκ τ8 αναλογον, ει δε μη, απρεπες φαινεται, δια το παραλληλα τα ενάντια μάλιςα φαίνεθαι". αλλα δει σκο»

πειν ως νεω φοινικες, τα χερουλι τι ου γαρ η αυτη πρεπει εθης. Aristot. Rhetor, lib.iii. cap. 2. $ 3.

+ Εςι δε και εν ταις συλλαβαις αμαρτια, εαν μη ηδειας η σημεια φωνης" οιον Διονυσια» προσαΓορευει ο χαλκους εν τοις ελεγειρις, κραυτην Καλλιοπης. ARISTOT. Rhetor. lib.:

a word that expressed the soft warbling of a musical voice, and not a word that was as well. fitted to describe the roar of a tumultuous ocean, or the clangor of a warlike trumpet. Who would think that Nature's confeJioner whose fựckets are moist alchymy, should be the deseription of a beç gathering honey? And it may furprise ys to hear . an admirer of the Muses saying,

A waying fea of heads was found me spread,

And still fresh freams the gazing deluge fed, : : and intending nothing more by this circumlocucory manner of expression, than there was a great croud of people.

I have seen a Sermon upon those words, Isaiah xxv, 6, in which the Preacher, mentioning several dishes in the feast of fat things spoken of in the prophecy, introduces one the most improper sure that could be devised, that of the grave and death conquered. How the grave could be considered as a part of an entertainment, or death, above all things, should be brought in as a dish at a feast of fat things, is beyond the power of all imagination to conceive.

$ 10. We should guard against every Trope that may appear in the least degree finical and fantastical. Our Tropes should be bold and manly, free and natural, without being stiffened by affectation, or subtilised by a puerile and trifling fancy. Among the number of finical or fantastical Tropes, we may reckon an instance

produced

ORGIAS, who, instead of saying new businesses, calls them green and fresh-bleeding businesses * LONGINUS tells us, that the following passage of PLATO was cenfured by the Critics : “ Is it not easy to conceive, , « says Plato, thar'a city should be tempered 6 like a cup ? - The inflaming God of Wine is « infused into the cup, and rages in it, but he « is chastifed by another sober Deity, mingles « in a lovely fellowship with him, and affords « an healthy and temperate draught. To call, ” adds LONGINUS, the Water a sober Deity, and is the infusion of the water into wine chastisement,

is the language, say the Critics, of a Poet not very fober himself.”

To the class of finical and fantastical Tropes, we may refer the following descriptions of the feveral parts of the CreaBon; the embossing's of mountains, the enameling of lelser feas, the open-work of the vast ocean, and the Fret-work of the rocks. Theỳ are Tropes that

may ...

Ασαφεις δει αν πορρωθεν" οιον Γοργίας * χλωρα και ευαιμα τα πραγματα." ARIST. Rhetor. lib. iii. cap. 3. 5 4.

Επι γαρ τατους και τον Πλατωνα εχ ήκισα διασυρεσι, πολο λακις, ώσπες υπο βακχειας τηςτων λόγων, εις ακρατες και απηνεις μεταφορας και αλληγορικον σομφον εκφερομενον. γας, ραδιον , επινοειν, φησιν, οτι πολιν, ειναι δει δικην κρατηρώ κεκραμενην και 8 μαινομενα- μεν ουν εκεχυμενο» ζει, κολαζομε.

ι υπο νηφονίG- ετερα θεε, καλην κοινωνιαν λαβων, αγαθον τομα και μετριον απεργαζέλα. « Νηφονία" γαρ, φαση, δε θεον" τα υδωρ λιγειν, “ κολάσιν” δε την κρασιν, ποιήτε τι Τα οντι, οχι νηφοντG- εει:

LONGINUS de Sublimitate, $ 32.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

« ZurückWeiter »