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How cautious and particular! " he had (says our author) so many herds, which herds chiived so well, " and thriving so well gave so much milk, and that “ milk produced so much butter, that, if he did not, “ he might have washed his feet in it.”
The ensuing description of Hell is no less remarkable in the circumstances. In flaming heaps the raging ocean rolls, Whose livid waves involve despairing souls; The liquid burnings dreadful colours shew, Some deeply red and others faintly blue *.
Could the most minute Dutch painter have been more exact? How inimitably circumstantial is this also of a war-horse! His eyeballs burn, he wcunds the smoking plain, And knots of scarlet riband deck his mane t.
Of certain Cudgel-players.
They brandish high in air their threat’ning staves,
Who would not think the poet had past his whole life at wakes in such laudable diversions ? since he teaches us how to hold, nay how to make a cudgel!
Periphrase is another great aid to prolixity; being a diffused circumlocutory manner of expressing a known idea, which should be so mysteriously couched, as to give the reader the pleasure of guessing what it is, that the author can possibly mean; and a strange surprise, when he finds it.
The poet I last mentioned is incomparable in this figure. A waving sea of heads was round me sprcad, And still fresh streans the gazing deluge fed *. Here is a waving sea of heals, which by a fresh stream of heads grows to be a gazing deluge of heads. You come at last to find, it means a great crowd.
How pretty and how genteel is the following!
What is this but a bee gathering honey?
Little Syren of the stage,
We may define amplification to be making the most of a thought: it is the spinning-wheel of the bathos, which draws out and spreads it into the finest thread. There are amplifiers, who can extend half a dozen thin thoughts over a whole folio; but for which, the tale of many a vast romance, and the substance of many a fair volume, might be reduced to the size of a priiner.
In the book of Job are these words, “ Hat thou “ commanded the morning, and caused the day-spring
* Job, p. 78. + Ciereland.
« to know his place?” How is this extended by the
The same author has amplified a passage in the civth
You here see the hills not trembling, but shaking off woods from their backs, to run the faster : after this you are presented with a foot-race of mountains and woods, where the woods distance the mountains, that, like corpulent pursy fellows, come puffing and panting a vast way behind them.
Of imitation, and the manner of imitating.
THAT the true authors of the profund are to imitate diligently the examples in their own way, is not to be questioned, and that divers have by this means attained to a depth, whereunto their own weight could never have carried them, is evident by sundry * Job, p. 108.
+ P. 267.
instances. Who sees not that De Foe was the poetical son of Withers, Tate of Oyilby, E. Ward of John Taylor, and Eusden of Blackmore? Therefore when we sit down to write, let us bring some great author to our mind, and ask ourselves this question; how would Sir Richard have said this ? do I express myself as simply as Ambrose Philips ? or flow my numbers with the quiet thoughtles: ness of Mr. Welsted ?
But it may seem somewhat strange to assert, that our proficient should also read the works of those famous poets, who have excelled in the sublime: yet is not this a paraddox. As Virgil is said to have read Ennius, out of hi: durs all to draw gold; so may our author read Shakspeare, Milen, and Dr den, for the contrary ead, to bury their sell in lis own dunghill. A true genius, when he finació at ting lofty or shining in them, willi.ei chi o bring it down, take oif the gljus, cr que dichange the colour, by some ingenious circunsture or periphrase, some addition or diminution, or by some of those figures, the use of which we shall show in our next chapter.
The book of Job is acknowledged to be infinitely sublime, and yet he not the father of the bathos reduced it in every prze? I there a passage in all Virgil more paintid up and labouret t'ian the description of Etna in the thin Ancid?
Horrificis juxta tonat Ætna ruinis, Interdumque atram prorumpit ad athera nubem, Turbine fumantcm pice, et candente favilla, Attollitque globos Aamınarum, et sidera lambit: Interdum scopulos avulsaque viscera montis Erigit eructans, liquefactaque saxa sub auras Cum gemitu glomerat, fundoque exæstuat imo.
(I beg pardon of the gentle English reader, and such of our writers as understand not Latin.) Lo! how this is taken down by our British poet, by the single happy thought of throwing the mountain into a fit of the colic. Etna, and all the burning mountains, find Their kindled stores with inbred storms of wind Blown up to rage; and roaring out complain, As torn with inward gripes, and tort'ring pain : Lab'ring, they cast their dreadful vomit round, And with their melted bowels spread the ground *.
Horace, in search of the sublime, struck his head against the stars †; but Empedocles, to fathom the profund, threw himself into Ætna. And who but would imagine our excellent modern had also been there, from this description?
Imitation is of two sorts; the first is, when we force to our own purposes the thought: of others; the second, consists in copying the imperfections or blemishes of celebrated authors. I have seen a play professedly writ in the style of Shak peare, wherein the resemblance lay in one single line, And so good morrow t'ye, good master lieutenant.
And sundry poems in imitation of Milton, where, with the utmost exactness, and not so much as one exception, nevertheless was constantly nathless, embroidered was broidered, hermits were eremites, disdained 'sdeigned, shady umbrageous, enterprise emprize, pagan paynim, pinions pennons, sweet dulcet, orchards orchats, bridge-work pontifical; nay her was hir, and their was thir through the whole
. Pr. Arthur, p. 75.
Sublimi feriam sidera vertice.