« AnteriorContinuar »
Hears his own feet, and thinks they found like more ; And fears the hind fe:t will o'ertake the fore
Şo astonishing as these are, they yield to the following, which is profundity itself.
None but himself can be his parallel *.
Unless it may seem borrowed from the thought of that master of a show in Smithfield, who writ in large letters over the picture of his elephant,
This is the greatest elephant in the world, except himself.
However, our next instance is certainly an original. Speaking of a beautiful infant,
So fair thou art, that if great Cupid be
First he is Cupid, then he is not Cupid ; first Venus would mistake him, then she would not mistake him ; next his eyes are his mother's, and lastly they are not his mother's, but his own.
Another author, describing a poet, that shines forth a. midft a circle of critics,
Thus Phalus thro' the zodiac takes his way,
What a peculiarity is here of invention the author's pencil, like the wand of Circe, turns all into monsters at a stroke.
A great genius takes things in the lump, without stopping at minute coorwerations : in vain might the ram, the bult, the goat, the lion, the crab, the scor. pion, the fishes, all stand in bis way, as mere natural
* Theobald, Double Filhood,
€ animals : much more might it be pleaded, that a pair o scales, an old man, and two innocent children, were no monsters: there were only the centaur and the maid, that could be esteemed out of nature. But what of that? with a boldnels peculiar to these daring geniules, what he found not monsters, l.e made lo.
of the profund, confiling in the circumstarces; and of
amplification and periphrale in general. W
HAT in a great measure distinguishes other write
ers from ours, is their chusing and separating such circunstances in a description, as ennoble or elevaie ebe Subject.
The circumstances, which are most natural, are obvi. ous, therefore not allonishing or peculiar ; but those that are far-fetched or unexpected, or hardly compatible, will furprize prodigiously. These therefore we must princi. pally hunt out; but above all preserve a laudavle prolixie ty; presenting the whole and
orice of the i. mage to view. For choice and distinction are not only a curb to the spirit, and limit the descriptive faculty, but allo Jessen the book; which is frequently the worst consequence of all to our author.
Job lays in short, he washed his feet in butter ; a cir. comftauce some poets world have foftened, or past over : now, hear how this butter is spread out by the great ge.
With teats difended with their milky fore,
How cautious and particular ! " He had," says our author, “lo many herds, which herds thrived fo well, “ alid thriving so will gave so much milk, and that milk
* Blackm. Job, p. 133. VOL. V,
“ produced so much butter, that, if he did not, he might " have washed bis feet in it.”
The ensuing description of hell is no less remarkable in the circumstances.
In flaming heaps the raging ocean rolls,
Could the most minute Dutch-painter have been more exact? how inimitably circumstantial is this also of a war-horse !
His eye-balls burn, he wounds the smoaking plain,
Of certain cudgel-players.
Who would not thick the poet had past his whole life at wakes in luch laudable diversions ? lince he teaches us how to hold, nay, how to make a cudgel!
Periphrase is another great aid to prolixity ; being a diffuted circumlocutory manner of expressing a known idea, which Mould be lo mysteriously couched, as to give the reader the pleasure of guessing what it is, that the author can posfibly mean; and a Itrange surprize when he finds ii !
The poet I last mentioned is incomparable in this fie gure.
A waving sea of heads was round me spread,
And slill fresh Jlreams the gazing de uge fed ll. Here is a waving fea of heads, which, by a fresh Aream * Prince Arthur, p. 89.
+ Anon. Prince Arthur, p. 197.
# Jub, p. 78.
of heads, grows to be a gazing deluge of heads. You
Minting the garden inte goid *.
Little Gren of the fage,
Tunefui mischief, vocalspell.at: Who would think, this was only a poor gentlewoman, thai fung finely?
We may define amplification to be making the most of a thought; it is the joinning wheel of the bathos, which draws out and spreads it intis the finest thrcad. There are amplifiers, who can extend' half a dozen thin thoughts o. ver a whole folio; but for which, the sale of many a vast romance, and the substance of many a fair volume, might be reduced to the size of a primmer.
To the book of Job are there words, “ Haft thou como u inanded the morning, and caused the day.spring to " know his place?" bow is this extended by the not celebrated amplifier of our age?
Canst thou set forth th' etherial mines on high,
The fame author hath amplified a passage in the civ. Pfalm; “ He looks on the earth, and it trembles. He Si touches the hills, and they finoke.” Cleveland. + A. Philips to Cuzzona. Jub, p. 308.
The hills forget they're fix’d, and in their fright
You here see the lills not only trembling, but taking off woods from ther backs, to run the faster : after this you are presented with a foot-race of mountains and woods, where the woods distance the inountains, chat, like corpulent pursy fellows, come puffing and pauting a valt way behind them.
CH A P. IX.
of imitation, and the manner of imitating. HAT the true authors of the profund are to imi. tate diligently the cxamples in their own way,
is not to be questioned, and that divers liave, by this means, attained 10 a depth, wherein to their own weight could never have carried them, is evident by fundry instancese Who lees not that De Foe was the poetical fon of Wi. thers, Tire ot' Ogilby, E. Ward of John Taylor, and Elden of Blackmore? Therefore when we sit down to write, let us bring some great author to our inind, and ask ourselves this question ; how would Sir Richard have faid thi: ? do I express myself as simply as Ambrose Philips? or flow my numbers with the quiet thoughtlessness of Mr Welsted ?
But it may lecui somewhat strange to affert, that our proficient should also read the works of those famous poets, who have excelled in the sublime : yet is not this a paradox. As Virgil is said to have read Ennius, out of his dunghill to draw gold, so may our author read Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden, for the contrary end, to hurv their gold in his own dunghill. A true genius, when be finds any thing lofiy or shining in them, will have the Skill io bring it down, take off the gloss, or quite dif
* Job, P, 267.