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in the chapter quoted above; and the reason shall be illustrated by examples. The first is a comparison built upon a resemblance so obvious as to make little or no impression.

This just rebuke inflam'd the Lycian crew,
They join, they thicken, and th' assault renew.
Unmov'd the embodied Greeks their fury dare,
And, fix'd, support the weight of all the war;
Nor could the Greeks repel the Lycian pow'rs,
Nor the bold Lycians force the Grecian tow'rs.
As on the confines of adjoining grounds,
Two stubborn swains with blows dispute their bounds;
They tug, they sweat; but neither gain nor yield,
One foot, one inch, of the contended field:
Thus obstinate to death, they fight, they fall;
Nor these can keep, nor those can win the wall.

ILIAD, Xii. 505. Another, from Milton, lies open to the same objection. Speaking of the fallen angels searching for mines of gold:

A numerous brigade hasten'd: as when bands
Of pioneers with spade and pick-ax arm'd,
Forerun the royal camp to trench a field
Or cast a rampart.

The next shall be of things contrasted that are of different kinds :

Queen. What, is my Richard both in shape and mind
Transform'd and weak? Hath Bolingbroke depos'd
Thine intellect? Hath he been in thy heart!
The lion thrusteth forth his paw,

And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
To be o'erpower'd: and wilt thou, pupil-like,
Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,
And fawn on rage with base humility?


A man and a lion are of different species, and therefore are proper subjects for a simile; but there is no such resemblance between them in general, as to produce any strong effect by contrasting particular attributes or circumstances.

Comparisons must be distinguished into two kinds; one common and familiar, as where a man is compared to a lion in courage, or to a horse in speed; the other more distant and refined, where two things that have


in themselves no resemblance or opposition, are compared with respect to their effects. There is no sort of resemblance between a flower-pot and a cheerful song; and yet they may be compared with respect to their effects, the emotions they produce being similar. There is as little resemblance between fraternal concord and precious ointment; and yet observe how successfully they are compared with respect to the impressions they make.

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon Aaron's beard, and descended to the skirts of his garment. PSALM 133.

For illustrating this sort of comparison, I add some more examples:

Delightful is thy presence, O Fingal! it is like the sun on Cromla, when the hunter mourns his absence for a season and sees him between the clouds.

Did not Ossian hear a voice? or is it the sound of days that are no more? Often, like the evening sun, comes the memory of former times on my soul.

His countenance is settled from war; and is calm as the eveningbeam, that from the cloud of the west looks on Cona's silent vale. Sorrow, like a cloud on the sun, shades the soul of Clessammor. The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.

Pleasant are the words of the song, said Cuchullin, and lovely are the tales of other times. They are like the calm dew of the morning on the hill of roes, when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale.

These quotations are from the poems of Ossian, who abounds with comparisons of this delicate kind, and appears singularly happy in them.*

I proceed to illustrate, by particular instances, the different means by which comparisons, whether of the one sort or the other, can afford pleasure; and, in the order above established, I begin with such instances as

*The nature and merit of Ossian's comparisons is fully illustrated in a dissertation on the poems of that author, by Dr. Blair, professor of rhetoric in the college of Edinburgh;-a delicious morsel of criticism.

are agreeable, by suggesting some unusual resemblance or contrast:

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in her head.

Gardener. Bolingbroke hath seiz'd the wasteful king.
What pity is't that he had not so trimm'd
And dress'd his land, as we this garden dress;
And wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,
Lest, being over-proud with sap and blood,
With too much richness it confound itself.
Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have liv'd to bear, and he to taste
Their fruits of duty. All superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live:
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
Which waste and idle hours have quite thrown down.

See, how the morning opes her golden gates,
And takes her farewell of the glorious sun;
How well resembles it the prime of youth,
Trimm'd like a younker prancing to his love!

Brutus. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.


Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief:
As when, from mountain-tops, the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread
Heav'n's cheerful face, the low'ring element
Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape, snow and show'r:
If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet,
Extends his ev'ning beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.


As the bright stars and milky-way,
Show'd by the night, are hid by day;
So we in that accomplish'd mind,
Help'd by the night, new graces find,
Which by the splendor of her view,
Dazzled before, we never knew.


The last exertion of courage compared to the blaze of a lamp before extinguishing-Tasso Gierusal., canto 19. st. 22.

None of the foregoing similies, as they appear to me, tend to illustrate the principal subject: and therefore the pleasure they afford, must arise from suggesting resemblances that are not obvious: I mean the chief pleasure; for undoubtedly a beautiful subject introduced to form the simile affords a separate pleasure, which is felt in the similies mentioned, particularly in that cited from Milton.

The next effect of a comparison, in the order mentioned, is to place an object in a strong point of view; which effect is remarkable in the following simile:

As when two scales are charg'd with doubtful loads,
From side to side the trembling balance nods,
(While some laborious matron, just and poor,
With nice exactness weighs her woolly store,)
Till pois'd aloft, the resting beam suspends
Each equal weight; nor this nor that descends:
So stood the war, till Hector's matchless might,
With fates prevailing, turn'd the scale of flight.
Fierce as a whirlwind up the wall he flies,
And fires his host with loud repeated cries.


Lucetta. I do not seek to quench your love's hot fire,
But qualify the fire's extreme rage,
Lest it should burn above the bounds of reason.

Julia. The more thou damm'st it up, the more it burns:
The current, that with gentle murmur glides,
Thou know'st, being stopp'd, impatiently doth rage;
But when his fair course is not hindered,

He makes sweet music with th' enamell'd stones,
Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge

He overtaketh in his pilgrimage;

And so by many winding nooks he strays,
With willing sport, to the wild ocean.
Then let me go, and hinder not my course:
I'll be as patient as a gentle stream,
And make a pastime of each weary step,
Till the last step have brought me to my love;
And there I'll rest, as, after much turmoil,
A blessed soul doth in Elysium.

She never told her love;
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought,

And, with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at Grief.


York. Then, as I said, the Duke, great Bolingbroke, Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed, Which his aspiring rider seem'd to know, With slow but stately pace, kept on his course: While all tongues cried, God save thee, Bolingbroke! Duchess. Alas! poor Richard, where rides he the while? York. As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him who enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious:

Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
Did scowl on Richard; no man cried, God save him!
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head:
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience;
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel'd
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,
And barbarism itself have pitied him.

RICHARD II. ACT V. Sc. 3. Northumberland. How doth my son and brother? Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd; But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue : And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it. SECOND PART HENRY IV.-ACT I. Sc. 3.

Why, then I do but dream on sov'reignty,
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
Saying, he'll lave it dry to have his way:
So do I wish, the crown being so far off,
And so I chide the means that keep me from it,
And so (I say) I'll cut the causes off,
Flatt'ring my mind with things impossible.

Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.

MACBETH.-Act V. Sc. 5.

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