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The Persian Jupiter, and calls vultures living sepulchres. Some expressions of Callisthenes deserve the same treatment, for they shine not like stars, but glare like meteors. And 5 Clitarchus comes under this censure still more, who blusters indeed, and blows, as Sophocles expresses it, Loud sounding blasts not sweetened by the stop. Amphicrates, Hegesias, and * Matris,
running sepulchres. However, at best they are but conceits, with which little wits in all ages will be delighted, the great may accidentally slip into, and such as men of true judgment may overlook, but will hardly commend.
• Callisthenes succeeded Aristotle in the tuition of Alexander the Great, and wrote a history of the affairs of Greece.
5. Clitarchus wrote an account of the exploits of Alerander the Great, having attended him in his expeditions. Demetrius Phalereus, in his treatise on Elocution, has censured his swelling description of a wasp. “ It feeds, says he, upon the mountains, and flies into “ hollow oaks.” It seems as if he was speaking of a wild bull, or the boar of Erymanthus, and not of such a pitiful creature as a wasp. And for this reason, says Demetrius, the description is cold and disagreeable.
Amphicrates was an Athenian orator. Being banished to Seleucia, and requested to set up a school there, he replied with arrogance and disdain, that “ The dish was not large enough for dolphins.". Dr. Pearce.
Hegesias was a Magnesian. Cicero in his Orator, c. 226, says humorously of him, “ He is faulty no less
may all be taxed with the same imperfections. For often, when, in their own opinion, they are all divine, what they imagine to be godlike spirit, proves empty simple froth”.
“ in his thoughts than his expressions, so that no one “ who has any knowledge of him need ever be at a loss “ for a man to call impertinent.” One of his frigid expressions is still remaining. Alexander was born the same night that the temple of Diana at Ephesus, the finest edifice in the world, was by a terrible fire reduced to ashes. Hegesias in a panegyrical declamation on Alexander the Great, attempted thus to turn that accident to his honour: “ No wonder, said he, that Diana's “ temple was consumed by so terrible a confiagration: the goddess was so taken up in assisting at Olinthia's delivery of Alexander, that she had no leisure to extinguish the flames which were destroying her temple.” “ The coldness of this expression (says Plutarch in Alex.) is so excessively great, that it seems sufficient of itself to have extinguished the fire of the temple.”
I wonder Plutarch, who has given so little quarter to Hegesias, has himself escaped censure, till Dr. Pearce took cognisance of him. “ Dulness (says he) is some“ times infectious; for while Plutarch is censuring He“ gesias, he falls into his very character."
Who Matris was I cannot find, but commentators observe from Athenæus, that he wrote in prose an Encomium upon Hercules. .
9 Vid. Cic. I. 4. Rhetoricorum, p. 97. ed. Delph. vol. 1. What is said there about the Sufflata constructio verborum, agrees very exactly with Longinus's sense of the bombast,
Bombast however is amongst those faults which are most difficult to be avoided. All men are naturally biassed to aim at grandeur. Hence it is, that by shunning with the utmost diligence the censure of impotence and flegm, they are hurried into the contrary extreme. They are mindful of the maxim, that In
great attempts 'tis glorious ev'n to fall. But tumours in writing, as well as in the human body, are certain disorders. Empty and veiled over with superficial bigness, they only delude, and work effects contrary to those for which they were designed. Nothing, according to the old saying, is drier than a person distempered with a dropsy.
Now the only failure in this swoln and puffed-up style is, that it endeavours to go beyond the true Sublime, whereas Puerilities are directly opposite to it. They are low and grovelling, meanly and faintly expressed, and in a word are the most ungenerous and unpardonable errors that an author can be, guilty of.
But what do we mean by a Puerility? Why, it is certainly no more than a schoolboy's thought, which, by too eager a pursuit
of elegance, becomes dry and insipid. And those persons commonly fail in this particular, who by an ill-managed zeal for a neat, correct, and above all, a sweet style, are hurried into low turns of expression, into a heavy and nauseous affectation.
To these may be added a third sort of imperfection in the Pathetic, which o Theodorus has named the Parenthyrse, or an illa timed emotion. It is an unnecessary attempt to work upon the passions, where there is no need of a Pathos; or some excess, where moderation is requisite. For several authors, of no sober understandings, are excessively fond of passionate expressions, which bear no relation at all to their subject, but are whims of their own, or borrowed from the schools. The consequence is, they meet with nothing but contempt and derision from their unaffected audience. And it is what they deserve, since they force themselves into transport and emotion, whilst their audience is calm, sedate, and unmoved. But I must reserve the Pathetic for another place.
10 Theodorus is thought to have been born at Gadara, and to have taught at Rhodes. Tiberius Cæsar, according to Quinctilian, is reported to have heard him with application, during his retirement in that island. Langbaine.
SECTION IV. 'TIMÆUS. abounds very much in the Frigid, the other vice of which I am speaking; a writer, it is true, sufficiently skilled in other points, and who sometimes reaches the genuine Sublime.
He was indeed a person of a ready invention, polite learning, and a great fertility and strength of thought. But these qualifications are, in a great measure, clouded by the propensity he has to blazon the imperfections of others, and a wilful blindness in regard to his own; though a fond desire of new thoughts and uncommon turns has often plunged him into shameful Puerilities. The truth of these assertions I shall confirm by one or two instances alone, since Cecilius has already given us a larger number.
When he commends Alexander the Great, he tells us, “ that he conquered all Asia in 6 fewer
than Isocrates was composing “his Panegyric.” A wonderful parallel indeed between the conqueror of the world
Timæus was a Sicilian historian. Cicero has sketched a short character of him in his Orator, l. 2. c. 14. which agrees very well with the favourable part of that which is drawn in this section. But Longinus takes notice further of his severity to others, which even drew upon him the surname of Epitimæus, from the Greek ETITIjev, because he was continually chiding and finding fault.