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admirable effects in the decorating of § 194. On Accuracy.
Diction, we think it may merit a farther There is another character left, which, regard. though foreign to the present purpose,
U There is not perhaps any figure of speech venture to mention; and that is the cha
so pleasing as the Metaphor. It is at times racter of Accuracy. Every work ought the language of every individual, but above to be as accurate as possible. And yel, all, is peculiar to the man of genius. His though this apply to works of every kind, sagacity discerns not only common analothere is a difference whether the work be gies, but those others more remote, which great or small. In greater works (such as escape the vulgar, and which, though they histories, epic poems, and the like) their seldom invent, they seldom fail to recogvery magnitude excuses incidental defects; nise, when they hear them from persons and their authors, according to Horace, more ingenious than themselves. may be allowed to slumber. It is other- It has been ingeniously observed, that wise in smaller works, for the very reason the Metaphor took its rise from the poverty that they are smaller. Such, through of language. Men, not finding upon every every part, both in sentiment and diction, occasion words ready made for their ideas, should be perspicuous, pure, simple, and were compelled to have recourse to words precise.
analogous, and transfer them from their
original meaning to the meaning then re§ 195. On Diction,
quired. But though the Metaphor began As every sentiment must be exprest by in poverty, it did not end there. When words; the theory of sentiment naturally the analogy was just (and this often hapleads to ibat of Diction. Indeed, the con- pened) there was something peculiarly nexion between them is so intimate, that pleasing in what was both new, and yet the same sentiment, where the diction dif- familiar; so that the Metaphor was then fers, is as different in appearance, as the cultivated, not out of necessity, but for orsame person,drest like a peasant, or drest
nament. It is thus that clothes were first like a gentleman. And hence we see how assumed to defend us against the cold, but much diction merits a serious attention,
came afterwards to be worn for distinction But this perhaps will be better under- and decoration. stood by an example. Take then the fol- It must be observed there is a force in lowing Don't let a lucky hit slip; if the united words, new and familiar. What you do, belike you mayn't any more get is new, but not familiar, is often unintelliat it.” The sentiment (we must confess) gible; what is familiar, but not new, is no is exprest clearly, but the diction surely is better than common place. It is in the rather vulgar and low. Take it another union of the two, that the obscure and the way—“ Opportune moments are few and vulgar are happily removed ; and it is in fleeting ; seize them with avidity, or your this union, that we view the character of a progression will be impeded." Here the just metaphor. diction, though not low, is rather obscure; But alier we have so praised the Me the words are unusual, pedantic, and af- taphor, it is fit at length we should exfected.-But what says Shakspeare?
plain what it is; and this we shall attempt, There is a tide in the affairs of men,
as well by a description, as by examples. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; “ A Metaphor is the transferring of a Omitted, all the voyage of their life
“ word from its usual meaning to an anaIs bound in shallows-
logous meaning, and then the employHere the diction is elegant without being “ing it agreeably to such transfer." ' For
. vulgar or affected; the words, though example, the usual meaning of evening is common, being taken under a metaphor, the conclusion of the day. But age too is are so far estranged by this metaphorical a conclusion; the conclusion of human life. use, that they acquire, through the change, Now there being an analogy in all conclua competent digoity, and yet, without be- sions, we arrange in order the two we have coming vulgar, remain intelligible and alleged, and say, that as evening is to the clear,
day, so is age to human life. Hence, by 196. On the Metaphor.
an easy permutation, (which furnishes at
once two metaphors) we say alternately, Knowing the stress laid by the ancient that evening is the age of the day; and critics on the Metaphor, and viewing its that age is the evening of life,
There are other metaphors equally pleas- her back is up ;-I must curry favour - Of ing, but which we only mention, as their the fat will be in the fire. analogy cannot be mistaken. It is thus that Nor can we omit that the same word, old men have been called stubble; and the when transferred to the same subjects, stage, or theatre, the mirror of human life. produces metaphors very different, as to
In language of this sort there is a double propriety or impropriety. satisfaction: it is strikingly clear; and yet It is with propriety that we transfer the raised, though clear, above the low and words to embrace, from human beings to vulgar idiom. It is a praise too of such things purely ideal. The metaphor apmetaphors, to be quickly comprehended. Pears just, when we say, to embrace a proThe similitude and the thing illustrated position; to embrace an offer ; to embrace are commonly dispatched in a single word, an oppportunity. Its application perhaps and comprehended by an immediate and was not quite so elegant, when the old instantaneous intuition.
steward wrote to his lord, upon the subject Thus a person of wit, being dangerously of his farm, that," if he met any oxen, he ill, was told by his friends, two more phy- “ would not fail to embrace them." sicians were called in! So
he If then we are to avoid the turgid, the - do they fire in platoons?
enigmatic, and the base or ridiculous, no
Harris. other metaphors are left, but such as may § 197. What Metaphors the best.
be described by negatives; such as
neither turgid, nor enigmatic, por base and These instances may assist us to discover
ridiculous. what metaphors may be called the best.
Such is the character of many metaThey ought not, in an elegant and polite phors already alleged ; among others that style (the style of which we are speaking) 10 be derived from meanings too sublime; ferred to speedy and determined conduct.
of Shakspeare's, where tides are transfor then the diction would be turgid and Nor does his Wolsey with less propriety bombast. Such was the language of that moralize upon his fall
, in the following poet who, describing the footman's flam- beautiful metaphor, taken from vegetable beaux at the end of an opera, sung or said,
nature : Now blaz'd a thousand faming suns, and bade
This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth Grim night retire
The iender leaves of hope, to morrow blossoms, Nor ought a metaphor to be far-fetched, And bears his blushing honours thick upon him; for then it becomes an enigma. It was
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost, thus a gentleman once puzzled his
And---nips bis root
country friend, in telling him, by way of compli
In such metaphors (besides their inment, that he was become a perfect cen
trinsic elegance) we may say the reader is His honest friend knew nothing of flattered; I mean, flattered by being left to centaurs, but being fond of riding, was discover something for himself. hardly ever off his horse.
There is one observation, which will at Another extreme remains, the reverse of the same time shew both the extent of this the too sublime, and that is, the transfer- figure, and how natural it is to all men. ring from subjects too contemptible. Such There are metaphors so obvious, and was the case of that poet quoted by Horace, of course so naturalized, that, ceasing to who to describe winter, wrote
be metaphors, they become (as it were)
the Jupiter hy bernas caoa nire conspuit Alpes,
words. It is after this man
proper (Hor. L. 11. Sat. 5.) ner we say, a sharp fellow; a great oraO’er the cold Alps Jove spits his hoary snow.
tor; the foot of a mountain; the eye of Nor was that modern poet more fortu, a needle; the bed of a river: to rumi,
, nate, whom Dryden quotes, and who,trying nate, to ponder, to edify, &c. &c, his genius upon the saine subject, sup
These we by no means reject, and yet the posed winter
metaphors we require we wish to be some
thing more, that is, to be formed under the To periwig with snow the bald pate woods.
respectable conditions here established. With the same class of wits we may ar- We observe too, that a singular usa range that pleasant fellow, who, speaking may be made of metaphors, either to exalt of an old lady whom he had affronted, gave or to depreciate, according to the souces, us in one short sentence no less than three from which we derive them. In ancient choice metaphors. I perceive (said he) story, Orestes was by some called the
murderer of his mother ; by others, the This enigma is ingenious, and means
The sum being pitiful, he said, a perplexity is caused, not by accident with disdain, he should not write upon but by design, and the pleasure lies in the demi-asses-A more competent sum was being able to resolve it. Harris. offered ; he then began,
$ 199. Rules defended. Hail! Daughters of the generous horse,
That skims, like wind, along the course. Having mentioned Rules, and indeed There are times, when, in order to exalt, this whole theory having been little more we may call beggars petitioners, and pick-than rules developed, we cannot but repockets collectors; other times, when, in
upon common opinion, which order to depreciate, we may call petition- seems to have arisen either from preju
. ers beggars, and collectors pick-pockets. dice or mistake. - But enough of this.
• Do not rules,” say they, “ cramp We say no more of metaphors, but that genius? Do they not abridge it of cerit is a general caution with regard to every
“ tain privileges ?". species, not to mix them, and that more
"Tis answered, If the obeying of rules particularly, if taken from subjects which were to induce a tyranny like this, to deare contrary.
fend them would be absurd, and against Such was the case of that orator, who the liberty of genius. But the truth is, once asserted in his oration, that " If rules, supposing them good, like good go“ cold water were thrown upon à certain yernment, take away no privileges. They
measure, it would kindle a flame, that do no more than save genius from error, “ would obscure the lustre,” &c. Harris. by shewing it, that a right to err is no
privilege at all. § 198. On Enigmas and Puns.
'Tis surely no privilege to violate in
grammar the rules of syntax; A word remains upon Enigmas and Puns. It sha!l indeed be short, because,
those of metre; in music, those of harmothough they resemble the metaphor, it is ny; in logic, those of syllogism; in paint
, in as brass and copper resemble gold.
. A pun seldom regards meaning, being poetry, those of probable imitation. ,
Ibid. chiefly confined to sound.
Horace gives a sad example of this $ 200. The flattering Doctrine That Genius spurious wit, where (as Dryden humo
will suffice, fallacious.
It must be confessed, 'tis a flattering
has nothing more to do than to trust his accustomed to king-killing:
own genius, and to contemn all rules, as
the tyranny of pedants. The painful Hunc Regem occide; operum boc mihi crede toils of accuracy by this expedient are
Horat. Sat. Lib. I. VII. eluded, for geniuses, like Milton's harps, We have a worse attempt in Homer,
(Par. Lost, Book III. v. 365, 366) are where Ulysses mukes Polypheme believe supposed to be ever tuned. his name was OYTIX, and where the dull
But the misfortune is, that genius is Cyclops, after he had lost his eye, upon something rare; nor can he who possesses being asked by his brethren, who had done it, even then, by neglecting rules, produce him so much mischief, replies, it was done
what is accurate. Those, on the conby OYTIS, that is, by nobody.
trary, who, though they want genius, Enigmas are of a more complicated think rules worthy their attention, if they nature, being involved either in pun, or
cannot become good authors, may still metaphor, or sometimes in both;
make tolerable critics ; may be able to
shew the difference between the creeping 'Ανδρέιδον πυρί χαλκών επ' ανέρι κολλήσαντα. and the simple; the pert and the pleasI saw a nian, who, únprorok'd by ire,
ing; the turgid and the sublime; in short, Struck brass upon another's back by fire. to sharpen, like the whetstone, that genius
in others, which Nature in her frugality Besides quotations already alleged, we has not given to themselves. Harris. subjoin the following as to character.
When Falstaff and his suite are so ig. f 201. No Genius ever acled without nominiously routed, and the scuffle is by Rules.
Falstaff so humorously exaggerated, what Indeed I have never known, during a can be more natural than such a narrative life of many years, and some small atten- to such a character, distinguished for his tion paid to letters, and literary men, that humour, and withal for his want of vera, genius in any art had been ever crampt by city and courage ? rules. On the contrary, I have seen great The sagacity of common poets might geniuses miserably err by transgressing not perhaps have suggested so good a them, and, like vigorous travellers, who parrative, but it certainly would have suglose their way, only wander the wider on gested something of the kind, and 'ris in account of their own streogth.
this we view the essence of dramatic cha. And yet 'tis somewhat singular in lite- racter, which is, when we conjecture what rary compositions, and perhaps more so any one will do or say, from what he has in poetry than elsewhere, that many things done or said already. have been done in the best and purest If we pass from characters (that is to taste, long before rules were established say, manners) to sentiment, we have aland systematized in form. This we are ready given instances, and yet we shall certain was true with respect to Homer, still give another. Sophocles, Euripides, and other Greeks. When Rosincrosse and Guildernstern In modern times, it appears as true of our wait upon Hamlet, he offers them a roadmired Shakspeare; for who can be- corder or pipe, and desires them to playlieve that Shakspeare studied rules, or was they reply they cannot-He repeats hiş ever versed in critical systems?
request—they answer, they have never
learnt-He assures them nothing was so § 202, There never was a time when
easy- they still decline-—"Tis then he tells Rules did not erist.
them with disdain, “ There is much muA specious objection then occurs : “ If “sic in this little organ; and yet you can" these great writers were so excellent be- " not make it speak — Do you think I am
fore rules were established, or at least “ easier to be played on than a pipe ?"
were known to them, what had they to Hamlet, Act III. " direct their genius, when rules (to them This I call an elegant sample of senti« at least) did not exist ?”
ment, taken under its comprehensive sense, To this questiou 'tis hoped the answer But we stop not here – We consider it as will not be deemed too hardy, should we a complete instance of Socratic reasoning, assert, that there never was a time when though 'tis probable the author knew norules did not exist; that they always made thing how Socrates used to argue. a part of that immutable truth, the natural To explain-Xenophon makes Socrates object of every penetrating genius; and as follows with an ambitious that if, at that early Greek period, systems youth, by name Euthydemus. of rules were not established, those great “ 'Tis strange (says he) that those who and sublime authors were a rule to them- “ desire to play upon the harp, or upon selves. They may be said indeed to have " the flute, or to ride the managed horse, excelled, not by art, but by nature; yet “ should not think themselves worth noby a nature which gave
birih to the
per- “ tice without having practised under the fection of art.
“ best masters—while there are those who The case is nearly the same with re- " aspire to the goveroing of a state, and can spect to our Shakspeare. There is hardly “ think themselves completely qualified, any thing we applaud, among his innu- ' though it be without preparation or lamerable beauties, which will not be found “ bour.” Xenoph. Mem. IV. c. 7. s. 6. strictly conformable to the rules of sound Aristotle's Illustration is similar, in his and ancient criticism.
reasoning against men chosen by lot for That this is true with respect to his magistrates.
' 'Tis (says he) as if wrestcharacters and his sentiment, is evident, lers were to be appointed by lot, and not hence, that in explaining these rules, we those that are able to wrestle; or, as if have so often recurred to him for illustra. from among sailors we were to choose a pi. tions.
lot by.lót, and that the man so elected was trouble, I can be full enough' pleased - I to navigate, and not the man who knew know what I like.-We answer, And so the business.” Rhetor. L. II. c. 20. p. 94. does the carrion-crow, that feeds upon a Edit. Sylb.
carcass. The difficulty lies not in knowNothing can be more ingenious than ing what we like, but in knowing how to this mode of reasoning. The premises are like, and what is worth liking. Till these obvious and undeniable: the conclusion ends are obtained, we may admire Durfey cogent and yet unexpected. It is a spe- before Milton; a smoking boor of Hemscies of that argumentation, called in dia- kirk, before an apostle of Raphael. lectic 'Exaywyn, or induction.
Now as 10 the knowing how to like, and Aristotle in his Rhetoric (as above quot- then what is worth liking; the first of ed) calls such reasonings tà Ewkpatika, the these, being the object of critical disquiSocratics; in the beginning of his Poetics, sition, has been attempted to be shewn he calls them the Ewkpatico Móyou, the through the course of these inquiries, Socratic discourses; and Horace, in his As to the second, what is worth our Art of Poetry, calls them the Socraticæ liking, this is best known by studying the chartæ.
Harris. best authors, beginning from the Greeks;
then passing to the Latins; nor on any § 203. The Connexion between Rules and
account excluding those who have excelGenius.
led among the moderns. If truth be always the same, no wonder
And here, if, while we pursue some augeniuses should coincide, and that too in thor of high rank, we perceive we don't philosophy, as well as in criticism. instantly relish him, let us not be disheart
We venture to add, returning to rules, ened, let us ever feign a relish, till we that, if there be any things in Shakspeare find a relish come. A morsel perhaps objectionable (and who is hardy enough pleases us - let us cherish it,Another to deny it?) the very objections, as well as morsel strikes us - let us cherish this also. the beauties, are to be tried by the same -Let us thus proceed, and steadily perrules; as the same plummet alike shews severe, till we find we can relish, not morboth what is out of the perpendicular, and sels, but wholes; and feel, that what bein it; the same rules alike prove both gan in fiction terminates in reality. The what is crooked and what is straight.
film being in this manner removed, we We cannot admit that geniuses, though shall discover beauties which we never prior to systems, were prior also to rules, imagined ; and contemn for puerilities, because rules from the beginning existed what we once foolishly admired. in their own minds, and were a part of
One thing however in this process is in. that immutable truth, which is eternal dispensably required : we are on no acand
every where. Aristotle, we know, did count to expect that fine things should denot form Horner, Sophocles, and Euri- scend to us; our taste, if possible, must pides ; 'twas Homer, Sophocles, and Eu- be made to ascend to them. ripides, that formed Aristotle.
This is the labour, this the work; there And this surely should teach us to pay is pleasure in the success, and praise even attention to rules, in as much as they and in the attempt. genius are so reciprocally connected, that This speculation applies not to literature Pris genius which discovers rules; and then only: it applies to music, to painting, and, rules which govern genius.
as they are all congenial, to all the liberal 'Tis by this amicable concurrence, and
arts. We should in each of them endeaby this alone, that every work of art justly vour to investigate what is best, and there merits admiration, and is rendered as (if I may express myself) fix our abode. highly perfect, as by human power it By only seeking and perusing what is can be made.
Ibid. truly excellent, and by contemplating al
ways this and this alone, the mind insensi§ 204. We ought not to be content with bly becomes accustomed to it, and finds that
knowing what we like, but what is really in this alone it can acquiesce with content, worth liking
It happens indeed here, as in a subject far
more important, I mean in a moral and "Tis not however improbable, that some a virtuous conduct; if we choose the best intrepid spirit may demand again, What life, use will make it pleasant. avail these subtleties !- Without so much