Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

yet it is an absurdity of that monstrous and “ massy weight, that no human authority or,

wit are able to support it. It will make

the very pillars of Saint Peter's crack, and e requires more yolumes to make it good than "would fill the Vatican +.” If I was to propose any alteration in this passage, it should be towards the end of the paragraph, and in the room of saying, it requires more volumes to make it good, I would rather say, it requires more volumes to maintain its reputation, or support its faith in the world. With some such amendment the Mez taphors are not only quite similar, but the passage affords as just and striking a description of the na- : ture and future fate of Transubstantiation, as can well be conceived to be in the power of language.

Mr Addison has given us a very proper and perfectly consistent Metaphor in the following passage : « And if there be fo much art, says " he, in the choice of fit precepts, there is much

more required in the treating of them, that

they may fall in with each other by a natural « and unforced method, and shew themselves in « the best and moft advantageous light. They « should be all fo finely wrought together in the - fame piece, that 'no coarse seam may discover ***] where they join, as in a curious brede of nee... dle-work, one colour falls away by such just 'K degrees, and another rises fo-insensibly, that we see the variety, without being able to dif

tinguish + Discourse on Tranfubftantialien. Vol. iii. p. 359. Oétava cdition.

tinguish the total vanishing of the one, from “ the first appearance of the other *.”

As to Cicero, to transcribe his beauties, would be a task in a manner the same with that of transcribing his Works; but to fhew how complete å master he was of Metaphor, take the two following instances. “ So it happens," says he in one of his Orations, “ that I, whose busi

nefs it is to repel the javelins and heal the “ wounds, am obliged to appear in this manner “ before the adversaries have so much as thrown " a dart ; and they are allowed that time to « make the attack, when it will not be in our

power to avoid the assault ; and if they throw « out some false charge, like an impoisoned “ dart, as they seem prepared to do, we shall u have no opportunity to apply a remedy 1." Nor is the next instance at all inferior for proi priety and harmony of Metaphor. “ Nor was I “ fo timorous, I who had steered the ship of the

commonwealth amidst the fierceft hurricanes and billows, and had conducted her safe to

port, as that I should stand in awe of the « cloudiness of your aspect, or your collegue's

“ pestilential

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Essay on Virgil's Georgics, Vol. i. p. 259. Ołtavo edit.

+ Ita fit ut ego, qui tela depellere, & vulneribus mederi de beam, tum id facere cogor, cum etiam telum adversarius nule lum jecerit; illis autem id tempus impugnandi detur, cum & vitandi illorum impetus poteftas adempta nobis erit: & fi qua in re, id quod parati sunt facere, falsum crimen, quasi venenatum aliquod telum jecerint, medicinæ faciendæ locus non erit. Pro P. QUINCTIO, 92.

a pestilential breath. I perceived other winds ; “ I foresaw other storms"; I did not withdraw « from other impending tempests, but for the ".common safety I exposed myself alone to their « fhock."

To these instances of uniform and coherent Metaphors, let me add another from a very great Writer : “ It should be endeavoured, says he, that " the passions which are not to be rooted up, “ because they are of nature's planting, be yet “ fo discreetly checked and depressed, that they “ grow not to that enormous tallness, as to over“top a' man's intellectual power, and cast a “ dark shadow over his soul t.” Was ever Metaphor carried on with happier success? and where is so much as the single word through the whole fentence that could be with advantage exchanged for another?

If I might not be thought unnecessarily profufe in the citation of well-conducted Metaphors, I should add that of Mr Prior, in his Dedication before his works to the Earl of DORSET : “ Wit, says he, in most Writers is like a fountain in a

“ garden, * Neque tam fui timidus, ut qui in maximis turbinibus ac fuctibus reipublicæ navem gubernafsem, falvamque in portu collocassem, frontis tuæ nubeculam tum collegæ tui contami. patum fpiritum pertimefcerem. Alos ego vidi ventos ; alias profpexi animo procellas; aliis impendentibus tempeftatibus non ceffi, fed his unum me pro omnium falute obtuli. Cicer. in PISONEM, $ 9.

+ Howe's Vanity of Man as Marlal, Vol. i. page 655. Folio edition.

1

garden, supplied by several streams brought “ through artful pipes, and playing sometimes

agreeably. But the Earl of Dorset's was a “ source rising from the top of a mountain, « which forced its own way, and with inexhaul. “ tible supplies delighted and inriched the coun

try through which it passed.”

[ocr errors]

§ 14. Having shewn that Metaphors are not to be in the least degree inconsistent, and produced examples both of incoherent and coherent Metaphors, it remains that I should Thew,

That Métaphors are not to be pursued too far. Metaphors are not to be drawn out to such an excessive length, as shall make it appear that we are rather labouring to let others see how far we can refine them, and how long we can play with them, than that we are solicitous about real benefit and improvement. It may be hard for some persons to know when they have said enough ; and for want of observing that limit, they may enervate and debase a sentence or dis course, that would otherwise have had a consider able merit. Weak and languid minds feldom rise to a noble Metaphor; but, on the other hand, some lively fancies, especially if there is a strong turn towards wit, may not leave a good Metaphor till they have shewn it in so many lights, as to make it quite irksome and insipid. We may in a rhetorical, as well as in a moral sense, say with HORACE,

There

There is a mean in all things ; mark its bounds :
An error here all rectitude confounds +.

6. Whenever you start a Metaphor,” says Mr Pope, most ironically, in his Art of Sinking in Poetry, “ you must be sure to run it down, and et pursue it as far as it can go.

If “ scent of a state-negotiation, follow it in this

you get the

manner :

[ocr errors]

The stones and all the elements with thee,
Shall ratify a strict confederacy :
Wild beasts their savage temper shall forget,
And for a firm alliance with thee treat;
The finny tyrant of the spacious seas,
Shall fend a scaly embassy for peace;
His plighted faith the Crocodile fhall keep,

And seeing thee for joy fincerely weep.
« Or if you represent the Creator denouncing
“ war against the wicked, be sure not to omit
« one circumstance usual in proclaiming and le-

vying war :
Envoys and agents, who, by my command,
Reside in Palestina's land,
To whom commiffions I have giv'n
To manage there the interests of Heav'n,
Ye holy heralds, who proclaim
Or war or peace, in mine your master's name;
Ye pioneers of Heav'n, prepare a road,
Make it plain, direct and broad,
For I in person will my people head,

For
+ Eft modus in rebus ; funt certi denique fines :
Quos ultra citraque nequit confiftere rectum.

HORAT, Sat. lib. i. fat. 1:

1

1

« ZurückWeiter »