« AnteriorContinuar »
danger is discerned in the very hurry and confusion of the words; the verses are tossed up and down with the ship, the harshness and jarring of the syllables give us a lively image of the storm, and the whole description is in itself a terrible and furious tempést.
It is by the same method that Archilochus has succeeded so well in describing a wreck; and Demosthenes, where he relates * the confusions at Athens, upon arrival of ill news 5.
“ averse to union, and heaped them one upon another, “ UA' en DUVET010. By this means the danger is dis“ cerned," &c.
The beauty Longinus here commends in Homer of making the words correspond with the sense, is one of the most excellent that can be found in composition. The many
and refined observations of this nature in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, are an evidence how exceedingly fond the ancients were of it. There should be a style of sound as well as of words, but such a style depends on a great command of language, and a musical ear. We see a great deal of it in Milton, but in Mr. Pope it appears to perfection. It would be folly to quote examples, since they can possibly escape none who can read and hear.
* Orat. de Coronâ.
5 The whole passage in Demosthenes's oration runs thus :
“ It was evening when a courier brought the news to " the magistrates of the surprisal of Elatea. Immediately they arose, though in the midst of their repast.
“ It was (says he) in the evening,” 8c. If
may speak by a figure, they reviewed the forces of their subjects, and culled out the flower of them, with this caution, not to place any mean, or indecent, or coarse expression in so choice a body. For such expressions are like mere patches, or unsightly bits of matter, which in this edifice of grandeur entirely confound the fine proportions, mar the symmetry, and deform the beauty of the whole.
“ Some of them hurried away to the Forum, and driv“ing the tradesmen out, set fire to their shops. Others “ fled to advertise the commanders of the army of the
news, and to summon the public herald. The whole “ city was full of tumult. On the morrow, by break of “ day, the magistrates convene the senate. You, gen“tlemen, obeyed the summons. Before the public “ council proceeded to debate, the people took their “ seats above. When the senate were come in, the “ magistrates laid open the reasons of their meeting, “ and produced the courier. He confirmed their re“port. The herald demanded aloud, who would ha“ rangue? Nobody rose up. The herald repeated “ the question several times. In vain: Nobody rose up ;
nobody harangued; though all the commanders of “ the army were there, though the orators were pre“sent, though the common voice of our country joined " in the petition, and demanded an oration for the pub
“ lic safety.”
SECTION XI. THERE is another virtue bearing great affinity to the former, which they call Amplification ; whenever (the topics, on which we write or debate, admitting of several beginnings, and several pauses in the periods) the great incidents, heaped one upon another, ascend by a continued gradation to a summit of grandeur'. Now this may be done to
* Lucan has put a very grand Amplification in the mouth of Cato:
Estne dei sedes, nisi terra, & pontus, & aer,
There is a very beautiful one in archbishop Tillotson's 12th sermon.
“ 'Tis pleasant to be virtuous and good, because that “is to excel many others: 'Tis pleasant to grow better, “ because that is to excel ourselves: Nay, 'tis pleasant
even to mortify and subdue our lusts, because that is “ victory: 'Tis pleasant to command our appetites and “ passions, and to keep them in due order, within the “ bounds of reason and religion, because this is empire."
But no author amplifies in so noble' a manner as St. Paul. He rises gradually from Earth to Heaven, from mortal Man to God himself. “ For all things are yours, « whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or “ life, or death, or things present, or things to come: « all are yours; ' and ye are Christ's, and Christ is “ God's.” 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22.
See also Rom. viii. 29, 30, and 38, 39.
ennoble what is familiar, to aggravate what is wrong, to increase the strength of arguments, to set actions in their true light, or skilfully to manage a passion, and a thousand ways besides. But the orator must never forget this maxim, that in things however amplified, there cannot be perfection, without a sentiment which is truly sublime, unless when we are to move compassion, or to make things appear as vile and contemptible. But in all other methods of Amplification, if you take away the sublime meaning, you separate as it were the soul from the body. For no sooner are they deprived of this necessary support, but they grow dull and languid, lose all their vigour and nerves.
What I have said now differs from what went immediately before. My design was then to shew how much a judicious choice and an artful connexion of proper incidents heighten a subject. But in what manner this sort of Sublimity differs from Amplification, will soon appear by exactly defining the true notion of the latter.
I CAN by no means approve of the definition which writers of rhetoric give of Amplification. Amplification (say they) is a form of words aggrandizing the subject. Now this definition may equally serve for the Sublime, the Pathetic, and the application of Tropes, for these also invest discourse with peculiar airs of grandeur. In my opinion, they differ in these respectş: Sublimity consists in loftiness, but Amplification in number ; whence the former is often visible in one single thought; the other cannot be discerned, but in a series and chain of thoughts rising one
“ Amplification therefore (to give an exact “ idea of it) is such a full and complete “ connexion of all the particular circum6 stances inherent in the things themselves,
as gives them additional strength, by dwell“ ing some time upon, and progressively
heightning a particular point.” It differs from Proof in a material article, since the end of a Proof is to establish the matter in debate