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passions are vastly distant from grandeur, and are in themselves of a low degree ; as lamen
When a writer applies to the more tender passions of love and pity, when a speaker endeavours to engage our affections, or gain our esteem, he may succeed well, though there be nothing grand in what he says. Nay grandeur would sometimes be unseasonable in such cases, as it strikes always at the imagination.
There is a deal of this sort of pathetic in the words of our Saviour to the poor Jews, who were imposed upon and deluded into fatal errors by the Scribes and Pharisees, who had long been guilty of the heaviest oppression on the minds of the people, “ Matt. xi. 28-30. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy “ laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon “ you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in “ heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my “yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
So again in Mat. xxiii. 37. after taking notice of the cruelties, inhumanities, and murders, which the Jewish nation had been guilty of towards those who had exhorted them to repentance, or would have recalled them from their blindness and superstition to the practice of real religion and virtue, he on a sudden breaks off with,
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how 6 often would I have gathered thy children together, “ even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, 66 and ye would not !” The expression here is vulgar and common, the allu
tation, sorrow, fear; and on the contrary, ' there are many things grand and lofty without any passion; as, among a thousand instances, we may see, from what the Poet has said, with so much boldness, of the Aloides *.
4 to raise Huge Ossa on Olympus' top they strove, And place on Ossa Pelion with its grove ; That heaven itselfthus climb’d, might be assail'd.
sion to the hen taken from an object, which is daily before our eyes, and yet there is as much tenderness and significance in it as can any where be found in the same compass.
I beg leave to observe farther, that there is a continued strain of this sort of Pathetic in St. Paul's farewell speech to the Ephesian elders in Acts xx. What an effect it had upon his audience is plain from ver. 36-38. It is scarcely possible to read it seriously without tears.
The first book of Paradise Lost is a continued instance of Sublimity without Passion. The descriptions of Satan and the other fallen angels are very grand, but terrible. They do not so much exalt as terrify the imagination. See Mr. Addison's observations, Spectator, N° 339.
* The Poet.] Longinus, as well as many other writers, frequently styles Homer in an eminent manner, the Poet, as if none but he had deserved that title. * Odyss. 1. v. 314.
Milton has equalled, if not excelled, these bold lines of Homer in his fight of angels. See Mr. Addison's fine observations upon it, Spectator, No 333.
But the boldness of what he afterwards adds, is yet greater: Nor would success their bold attempts have
fail'd, &c. Among the orators, all panegyrics, and orations composed for pomp
and show, may be grand throughout, but yet are for the most part
void of passion. So that those orators, who excel in the Pathetic, scarcely ever suca ceed as Panegyrists ; and those whose talents lie chiefly at Panegyric, are very seldom able to affect the passions. But on the other hand, if Cecilius was of opinion, that the Pathetic did not contribute to the Sublime, and on that account judged it not worth his mention, he is guilty of an unpardonable error. For I confidently aver, that nothing so much raises discourse, as a fine Pathos seasonably applied. It animates a whole performance with uncommon life and spirit, and gives mere words the force (as it were) of inspiration.
BUT though the first and most imporant of these divisions, I mean, Elevation of Thought, be rather a natural than an acquired qualification, yet we ought toʻspare no pains to educate our souls to grandeur, and impregnate them with
generous and enlarged ideas. “ But how, it will be asked, can this be « done?” Why, I have hinted in another place, that the Sublime is an image reflected from the inward greatness of the soul. Hence it comes to pass, that a naked thought without words challenges admiration, and strikes by its grandeur. Such is the Silence of
Ajax The silence of Ajax, &c.] Dido in Virgil behaves with the same greatness and majesty as Homer's Ajax. He disdains the conversation of the man, who, to his thinking, had injuriously defrauded him of the arms of Achilles ; and she scorns to hold conference with him, who, in her own opinion, had basely forsaken her; and by her silent retreat, shews her resentment, and reprimands Æneas more than she could have done in a thousand words.
Illa solo fixos oculos aversa tenebat,
Ajar in the Odyssey ,which is undoubtedly noble, and far above expression.
. - To arrive at excellence like this, we must needs suppose that which is the cause of it,
Quàin si dura silex, aut stet Marpesia cautes.
Æn. vi. v. 469.
The Pathetic, as well as the Grand, is expressed as strongly by silence, or a bare word, as in a number of periods. There is an admirable instance of it in Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar, Act. 4. Sc. 4. The preceding scene is wrought up in a masterly manner: we see there, in the truest light, the noble and generous resentment of Brutus, and the hasty choler and as hasty repentance of Cassius. After the reconciliation, in the beginning of the next scene, Brutus addresses himself to Cassius.
Bru. O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.
If you give place to accidental evils.