ePub 版



The EROTESIS Confidered.

§ 1. The definition of an Erotefis. § 2. Inftances from MILTON, THOMSON, TACITUS, and CICERO. § 3. Examples from Scripture. § 4. Obfervations of QUINTILIAN, LONGINUS, and YOUNG upon this Figure. § 5. A method of discovering its excellence and power.


§ 1. Rotefis + is a Figure by which we exprefs the emotion of our minds, and infufe an ardor and energy into our discourses, by proposing questions.

2. MILTON has wonderfully heightened the fpeech of SATAN to EVE, tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit, with a crowd of interrogations, and thereby made the Serpent, if I may fo fay, more ferpentine:

She scarce had said, tho' brief; when now more bold
The Tempter, but with show of zeal and love
To man, and indignation at his wrong,
New part puts on, and as to paffion mov'd,
Fluctuates difturb'd, yet comely, and in act

+ From sewraw, I ask.



Rais'd, as of fome great matter to begin.
As when of old fome orator renown'd
In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence
Flourish'd, fince mute, to fome great cause addrefs'd
Stood in himself collected, while each part,
Motion, each act won audience, ere the tongue
Sometimes in height began, as no delay
Of preface brooking thro' his zeal of right.
So ftanding, moving, or to height up grown,
The Tempter all impaffion'd thus began.

O facred, wife, and wisdom-giving plant,
Mother of science, now I feel thy pow'r
Within me clear, not only to discern
Things in their caufes, but to trace the ways
Of highest agents, deem'd however wife!
Queen of this univerfe, do not believe.
Those rigid threats of death; Ye fhall not die:
How fhould ye? By the fruit? it gives you life
To knowledge. By the threatner? look on me,
Me who have touch'd and tafted, yet both live,


And life more perfect have attain'd than fate
Meant me, by vent'ring higher than my lot.
Shall that be shut to man, which to the beast
Is open? Or will GOD incenfe his ire

For fuch a petty trespass, and not praise
Rather your
dauntless virtue, whom the pain
Of death denounc'd, whatever thing death be,
Deterr'd not from achieving what might lead
To happier life, knowledge of good and evil?
Of good how juft? of evil, if what is evil
Be real, why not known, fince easier fhunn'd?
GOD therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just;
Not just, not GOD; not fear'd then, nor obey'd:
Your fear itself of death removes the fear.



Why then was this forbid? Why but to awe,
Why but to keep ye low and ignorant,
His worshippers? He knows that in the day
Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear,
Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then
Open'd and clear'd, and ye fhall be as Gods,
Knowing both good and evil, as they know.
That ye fhall be as Gods, fince I as man,
Internal man, is but proportion meet:
I of brute-human, ye of human Gods,
So fhall ye die perhaps, by putting off
Human, to put on Gods: death to be wish'd,
Tho' threatned, which no worse than this can bring.
And what are Gods, that man may not become
As they, participating godlike food?
The Gods are first, and that advantage use
On our belief, that all from them proceeds;
I queftion it, for this fair earth, I fee,
Warm'd by the fun, producing ev'ry kind,
Them nothing: if they all things, who inclos'd·
Knowledge of good and evil in this tree,
That whofo eats thereof, forthwith attains
Wifdom without their leave? and wherein lies
Th' offence, that man fhould thus attain to know?
What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree
Impart against his will, if all be his?

[ocr errors]

Or is it envy? and can envy dwell

In heav'nly breasts? These, these, and many more
Causes import your need of this fair fruit.
Goddess human, reach then, and freely taste *. *

They are beautiful Interrogations in the fol lowing lines:


MILTON's Paradife Loft, book ix. line 664.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Falfely luxurious, will not man awake;
And, fpringing from the bed of floth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the filent hour,
To meditation due, and facred fong?

They are spirited Interrogations of GERMANIcus, in his fpeech to his mutinous foldiers : "What is there in these days that is left unattempted or unprofaned by you? What name, "fhall I give to this afsembly? Shall I call you


foldiers, who have besieged with a trench, and "with your arms, the fon of your Emperor? Or "fhall I call you citizens? you who have fo fhamefully trampled upon the authority of "the fenate; you who have also violated the ¢ justice due to enemies, the fanctity of embassy, and the right of nations †?"

N 2

[ocr errors]

For is there aught in fleep can charm the wife?
To lie in dead oblivion, lofing half

The fleeting moments of too short a life?
Total extinction of th' enlight'ned foul;
Or else to fev'rish vanity alive,
Wilder'd, and toffing thro' diftemper'd dreams?
Who would in fuch a gloomy ftate remain,
Longer than nature craves; when ev'ry muse,
And ev'ry blooming pleasure waits without,
To blefs the wildly-devious morning-walk * ?


THOMSON's Summer, line 66.

+ Quid enim per hos dies inaufum, intemeratumve vobis ? Quod nomen huic cœtui dabo? Militefne appellem? qui filium imperatoris veftri vallo, & arma circumfediftis. An cives? quibus tam projeca fenatus auctoritas; hoftium quoque jus, & facra legationis, & fas gentium rupiftis. TACIT. Annal. lib. i. 42.

[ocr errors]

How does CICERO, as it were, prefs and bear down his adversary by the force of Interrogations, when pleading for PLANCIUS, he thus addresses himself to his accufer? "Choose you any one "tribe, and inform us, as you ought, by what agent it was bribed? If you cannot, which "in my opinion you will not fo much as at"tempt, I will fhew you how he gained it. Is "this a fair conteft? Will you engage on this

[ocr errors]

footing? it is an open, honourable advance "upon you. Why are you silent? Why do you dissemble? Why do you prevaricate? I, "repeatedly insift upon this point, urge you "to it, prefs it, require it, and even demand "it of you t."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

$.3. Interrogations frequently occur in Scripture, and they are used upon very different occasions.


They are used to signify our apprehensions of impofsibility: John vi. 52. The Jews therefore, "ftrove among themselves, faying, How can this ss man give us his flesh to eat? that is, it is moft abfurd to imagine it.




+ Quam tibi commodum eft, unam tribum delige tu: doce id, quod debes, per quem fequeftrem, quo divifore corrupta fit. Ego, fi id facere non potueris, quod, ut opinio mea fert, ne incipies quidem, per quem tulerit docebo. Eftne hæc vera contentio ? placetne fic agi? Non poffum magis pedem conferre, ut aiunt, aut propius accedere. Quid taces? quid diffimulas? quid tergiverfaris? Etiam atque etiam infto, atque urgeo, infector, pofco, atque adeo flagito crimen. CiCER. pro PLANC. § 19.


« 上一頁繼續 »