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they ought to be discreetly used, and rather fparingly sprinkled, than fuperfluously lavished upon our difcourfes.
Mr POPE, in his Art of Sinking in Poetry, speaks of raising fo many images as to give you no image at all, and instances in the following lines:
The gaping clouds pour lakes of fulphur down,
"What a noble confusion!" adds that keen Writer: "Clouds, lakes, brimftone, flames, fun"beams, gaping, pouring, sick'ning, drowning! "all in two lines."
The obfervation of the fame Writer, as it may be considered as a direction to us, may well deserve a place in our remembrance:
"Tis more to guide than fpur the mufe's steed,
§ 6. Tropes may be blameable for being too extravagant, and beyond the juft allowances of nature and reafon, and even of the indulgence that may be granted to the most bold and fiery genius. We must take heed when we are making use of Tropes, that they fwell not into án enormous and infufferable magnitude, and fo deserve the character of pompous and founding B 4 trifles,
Art of Criticifm, line 84.
trifles, instead of real and vivifying ornaments to
As all is darkness when the fancy's bad,
ARISTOTLE finds fault with EURIPIDES for faying of a mariner, "that he had the empire of the oar," as a falfe elevation, and too grand for the fubject. CICERO by no means approves that a drunken caroufal fhould be called a tempest of riot †. LONGINUS has given us fome inftances of the extravagance of Tropes, in his juftly celebrated treatise on the Sublime as when XERXES is called by GORGIAS the JUPITER of the Perfians; and when vultures that devour human flesh, are faid to be living fepulchres. The following lines, which LONGINUS quotes from fome unknown Author, are produced as a fpecimen of the bombast, or, in other words, of excefsive and preternatural Tropes and Metaphors. Boreas, or the north wind, is introduced as faying,
Let them reprefs their chimney-flames that fly. --Fierce from their tops, and reach the vaulted fky; For
Το δε ως ο Τηλεφω. Ευριπίδέ φησι, με κωπας ανασσειν. όλο μείζον To avaσσew," n na? a&sav. ARISTOTEL. Rhetor. lib. iii. cap. 2. § 3.
+ Nolo effe majus, quam res poftulat, sempeftas comiffationis. CICERO, de Oratore, lib. iii. § 41.
Η Ταύτη και τα το Απόντινα Γοργία γελάται γραφοντα, σε Ξέρξης ο των Περσων Ζευς, και, σε γύπες εμψύχοι ταφοι. LONGIN, de Sublimitate, § 3.
For if one housekeeper alone I fee,
Let him expect a curl of flame from me,
And all his wealth in heaps of burning coals entomb. But O! I have not blown a jovial tune. "The curls of flame," Boreas being reprefented as a musician;" together with the expression, "of vomiting against Heaven," (which feems to have been used in fome foregoing lines of this fpeech, though they are now loft) are cenfured by LoNGINUS as fupertragical *.
The fentiments which that Prince of Critics entertained of thefe extravagancies in language, well deferve our regard: "Such Writers as thefe, fays he, when they fancy themselves infpired, miftake childish folly for divine enthusiafin. "This unnatural tumor, above all other faults in writing, feems most difficult to be avoided; for all who would reach the Sublime, are driven, I know not how, by nature upon "other extreme, to escape the imputation of languid and dryWriters; following the maxim, "That in great attempts it is glorious, even to “fall. But ftill all tumors, whether in the body
Και καμινα χωσι μακιςον σέλας.
Οι τραγικά ότι τουλά, άλλα παρατραγωδα,
και το προ κρανον εξεμειν,” και το τον Βορέαν. " αυληίην ROBY. LONGIN, de Sublimitate, § 3.
" or in composition, are diforders. They are "empty and delusive, and produce the contrary effects to what they pretend. Nothing is drier, "fays the proverb, than a dropfical body **
Tropes, fays HERMOGENES, are weighty and fublime; but there is no fmall danger in the use of them, for the goodnefs of Tropes lies in their moderation; as when DEMOSTHENES fays, they "exerted a good hope, whereas he could have faid "in plain language, they hoped for what is good. "How obfervable is it, fetting aside the Ora«tor's vehemence, that by the mediocrity of the
exprefsion, they exerted, that the Trope in at "manner escapes us? Tropes of this kind I "call moderate. But if Tropes exceed the com"mon measure, they give a rough caft to our
language; as when DEMOSTHENES fays, the
" cities are fick; and therefore he faw the neces"sity of explaining himfelf, and accordingly « what he adds concerning the heads of their ci"ties being corrupted by bribes, and the other
things that follow, explain what he means by "the cities being fick. But if Tropes rise still higher,
Πολλαχε γας ενθεσίαν ταύλοις δοκονίες, ο βακχεύεσιν, αλλα παίζεσιν. Ολως δ' έοικεν είναι το οἰδεῖν, ἐν τοῖς μαλισα, δυσφυλακίοτατον φύσει γαρ απάνιες οι μεγεθες εφιεμενοι, φευ γονίες αθένειας και ξηρότητα καταγνωσιν, εκ οίδ' όπως επι τεθ ̓ υποφερονται, πειθόμενοι των
Μεγαλως απολισθανειν ομως ευγενες αμαρτημα. Κάκοι δε οΓκος, και επι σωμάτων και λόγων, οι χαυνοι και αναληθείς, και μήποτε περιστάντες ήμας εις τεναντόν τε εδεν γαρ φασι ξηρότερον υδρο TINY." LONGIN. de Sublimitate, § 3.
higher, they render out difcourfes hard, as may be inftanced in exprefsions of the fame « Orator; as, they are enervated --- be fells himfelf --- they peel their country. But when our Metaphors are wrought to a pitch beyond all « this, our language becomes ftupid and con"temptible. You will meet with no example « of this kind in DEMOSTHENES, for indeed there " is none; but our blockifh Rhetoricians abound "with them." What follows in HERMOGENES, may be considered as a ftroke of pleasant humour, or rather, if we may judge from the context, of the keeneft indignation; "for they (the "blockish Rhetoricians) call Vultures living fe
pulchres, in which they themselves well de"ferve to be buried; and we might inftance in 66 many more fuch like frigid exprefsions which are ufed by them *.”
Και μην και αι τροπικαι λέξεις σεμναι και διογκωμέναι. Κινδυνα δε εν ταύταις ου μικρα περί την χρήσιν. Αι μεν γαρ μετρίως έχουσαι ποιουσι τον λογον σεμνόν. Όσον, την αγάθην προβαλλο μένες ελπίδα," αντί τ8, τα αγαθα ελπιζοντας. Όρας ότι δια το σφοδρα είχειν μετρίως το προβαλλομένους, εδε εμφαι
νεται η τροπή; αι μετρίως μεν εν εχουσαι, τοιαύτας εἰσιν. Ει
δε υπερβαιεν τι τα μέτρια, τραχύνουσι τον λόγον. Οιον, πολεις ενόσουν.” Διό και εξηγήσεως αυτω εδέησε. Το γάρ των μεν εν τω πολιτεύεσθαι και προτίειν δωροδοκουνιών, και τα εξης, σε ενοσών” εξιν εξηγητικά. Ει δε υπερβαιεν επι πλέον αι τροπαι, σκληροτερον ποι8σι τον λόγον. Ωσπερ και το, ελέγξο νευρισμένοι, και το, πεπρακώς εαυτον, και τον σε λωποδυ ελλαδα.” Περαιτέρω δε τούτων ει προελθοιεν, και παχυ
Τέρον και σχεδον ευτελέςερον αυτον ποιουσι. Παραδειγμα του λου