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poems. And in very deed, there is no other way, by which the true modern poet could read to any purpose the works of such men, as Milton and Shakspeare.
It may be expected, that like other criticks I should next speak of the passions: but as the main end and principal effect of the bathos is to produce tranquillity of mind (and sure it is a better design to promote sleep than madness) we have little to say on this subject. Nor will the short bounds of this discourse allow us to treat at large of the emollients and opiates of poesy; of the cool, and the manner of producing it; or of the methods used by our authors in managing the passions. I shall but transiently remark, that nothing contributes so much to the cool, as the use of wit in expressing passion : the true genius rarely fails of points, conceits, and proper similes on such occasions : this we may term the pathetic epigrammatical, in which even puns are made use or with good success. Hereby our best authors have avoided throwing themselves or their readers into any indecent transports.
But, as it is sometimes needful to excite the passions of our antagonist in the polemick way, the true students in the law have constantly taken their methods from low life, where they observed, that to move anger, use is made of scolding and railing ; to move love, of bawdry; to beget favour and fr.endship, of gross flattery; and to produce fear, of calumniating an adversary with criines obnoxious to the state. As for shame, it is a silly passion, of which as our authors are incapable themselves, so they would not produce it in others.
Of tropes and figures : and first of the variegating,
confounding, and reversing figures.
BUT we proceed to the figures. We cannot too carnestly recommend to our authors the study of the abuse of speech. They ought to lay it down as a principle, to say nothing in the usual way, but (if possible) in the direct contrary. Therefore the figures must be so turned, as to manifest that intricate and wonderful cast of head, which distinguishes all writers of this kind: or (as I may say) to refer exactly the mould, in which they were formed, in all its inequalities, cavities, obliquities, odd crannies, and distortions.
It would be endless, nay impossible to enumerate all such figures; but we shall content ourselves to range the principal, which most powerfully contribute to the bathos, under three classes.
1. The variegating, confounding, or reversing tropes and figures.
II. The magnifying, and
We cannot avoid giving to these the Greek or Roman names; but in tenderness to our countrymen and fellow writers, many of whom, however exquisite, are wholly ignorant of those languages, we have also explained them in our mother tongue.
Of the first sort, nothing so much conduces to the bathos, as the
A master of this will say,
Mow the beard,
Nail my sleeve. From whence results the same kind of pleasure to the mind, as to the eye, when we behold Harlequin trimming himself with a hatchet, hewing down a tree with a rasor, making his tea in a cauldron, and brewing his ale in a ica-pot, to the incredible satisfaction of the British spectator. Another source of the bathos is,
The MITONYMY, the inversion of causes for effects, of inventors for inventions, Eic. Lac'd in her Cosins* new appeared the brid, A Bubbic-bey - and Tompion at her side, And with an air diving her Colar ply'd. Then O! she cries, what siarcs I round me see ! Here a bright Rad-coat, there a smart Toupée g.
The SINECDOCHE, which consists in the use of a part for the whole. You may call a young woman sometimes preity-face and pigs-eyes, and sometimes snotty-nose and draggletail. Or, of accidents, for persons; as a lawyer, is called split-cause, a tailor, prick-louse, &c. Or of things belonging to a man, for the man himself; as a sword-man, a gown-man, a t-m-t-d-man; a whitestaff, a turn-key, &c.
*Stays. + Tweezer-case. † Wat:h. || Fan. § A sort of privig: all words in use at this present year 1727.
The APOSTOPESIS, an excellent figure for the ignorant, as “ what shall I « say?" when one has nothing to say: or “ I can no “ more,” when one really can no more. Expressions which the gentle reader is so good as never to take in earnest. .
The first rule is to draw it from the lowest things, which is a certain way to sink the highest ; as when you speak of the thunder of Heaven, say, The lords above are angry and talk big *.
Or if you would describe a rich man refunding his treasures, express it thus, Tho'he (as said) may riches gorge, the spoil Painful in massy vomit shall recoil: Soon shall he perish with a swift decay, Like his own ordure, cast with scorn away t.
The second, that whenever you start a metaphor, you must be sure to run it down, and pursue it as far as it can go. If you get the scent of a state negociation, follow it in this manner: The stones and all the elements with thee Shall ratify a strict confederacy; Wild beasts their savage temper shall forget, And for a firm alliance with thee treat; The finny tyrant of the spacious scas Shall send a scaly embassy for peace; His plighted faith the crocodile shall keep, And seeing thee, for joy sincerely weep I. ,
Or if you represent the Creator denouncing war against the wicked, be sure not to omit one circumstance usual in proclaiming and levying war. Envoys and agents, who by my command Reside in Palestina's land, To whom commissions I have given To manage there the interests of Heaven. Ye holy heralds, who proclaim Or war or peace, in mine your master's name, Ye pioneers of Heaven, prepare a road, Make it plain, direct and broad; For I in person will my people head; --For the divine deliverer Will on his march in majesty appear, And needs the aid of no confed'rate pow'r *. Under the Article of the confounding we rank,
1. The MIXTURE OF FIGURES, which raises so many images, as to give you no image at all. But its principal beauty is, when it gives an idea just opposite to what it seemed meant to describe. Thus an ingenious artist, painting the spring, talks of a snow of blossoms, and thereby raises an unexpected picture of winter. Of this sort is the following: The gaping clouds pour lakes of sulphur down, Whose livid Aashes sickning sunbeams drown t. What a noble confusion ! clouds, lakes, brimstone, fames, sun-beams, gaping, pouring, sickning, drowning! all in two lines.
2. The Jargon. Thy head shall rise, tho'buried in the dust, And ʼmidst the clouds his glittering turrets thrust I. • Black. Isa. c. xl. + Pr. Arthur, p. 37. Job, p. 107.