« AnteriorContinuar »
yawning, are equally poetical. - Addison seems to have had this passage in his eye, when he wrote his Hymn, which is inserted in the Spectator :
-For though in dreadful worlds we hung,
And in another piece of a like nature, in the same collection :
Thy providence my life sustain'd,
And all my wants redress’d,
And hung upon the breast.
Shakspeare, in his admired description of Dover cliff, uses the same expression:
Nothing can be more beautiful than the following picture, in which Milton has introduced the same expressive tint:
--He, on his side,
We shall give one example more from Virgil, to show in what a variety of scenes it may appear with propriety and effect. In describing the progress of Dido's passion for Æneas, the Poet says,
Iliacos iterum demens audire labores
The woes of Troy once more she begg'd to hear;
The reader will perceive in all these instances, that no other word could be substituted with equal energy; indeed no other word could be used without degrading the sense, and defacing the image. There are many other verbs of poetical import fetched from nature, and from art, which the poet uses to advantage, both in a literal and metaphorical sense; and these have been always translated for the same purpose from one language to another; such as quasso, concutio, cio, suscito, lenio, sævio, mano, fluo, ardeo, mico, aro, to shake, to wake, to rouse, to soothe, to rage, to flow, to shine or blaze, to plough.—Quassantia tectum limina—Æneas, casu concussus acerbo-Ære ciere viros, Martemque accendere cantu—Æneas acuit Martem et se suscitat ira—Impium lenite clamorem. Lenibant curas---Ne sævi magna sacerdos—Sudor ad imos manabat solos—Suspensæque diu lachrymæ fluxere per ora—Juvenali ardebat amoreMicat æreus ensis—Nullum maris æquor arandum. It will be unnecessary to insert examples of the same nature from the English poets.
The words we term emphatical, are such as by their sound express the sense they are intended to
and with these the Greek abounds, above all other languages, not only from its natural copiousness, flexibility, and significance, but also from the variety of its dialects, which enables a writer to vary his terminations occasionally as the nature of the subject requires, without offending the most delicate ear, or incurring the imputation of adopting vulgar provincial expressions. Every smatterer in Greek can repeat
B% δ' ακίων παραθένα πολυφλοισβολο θαλάσσης, ,
in which the last two words wonderfully echo to the sense, conveying the idea of the sea dashing on the shore. How much more significant in sound than that beautiful image of Shakspeare
The sea that on the unnumber'd pebbles beats.
if we consider the strictness of propriety, this last expression would seem to have been selected on purpose to concur with the other circumstances, which are brought together to ascertain the vast height of Dover cliff; for the poet adds, « cannot be heard so high.» The place where Glo'ster stood was so high above the surface of the sea, that the gioiobas, or dashing, could not be heard ; and therefore an enthusiastic admirer of Shakspeare might with some plausibility affirm, the poet had chosen an expression in which that sound is not at all conveyed. In the very same
of Homer's Iliad we meet with two other striking instances of the same sort of beauty. Apollo, incensed at the insults his priest had sustained, descends from the top of Olympus, with his bow and quiver rattling on his shoulder as he moved along:
"Έκλαγξαν δ' άρ' οίστω επ' ώμων.
Here the sound of the word Éxdayčav admirably expresses the clanking of armour; as the third line after this surprisingly imitates the twanging of a bow.
Δεινή δε κλαγγή γίνετ' αργυρίοιο Βιολο.
In shrill-ton'd murmurs sung the twanging bow.
Many beauties of the same kind are scattered through Homer, Pindar, and Theocritus, such as the Bouberc uelioca,
susurrans apicula ; the cou bebúploua, dulcem susurrum; and the uehodeta, for the sighing of the pine.
The Latin language teems with sounds adapted to every situation, and the English is not destitute of this significant energy
We have the cooing turtle, the sighing reed, the warbling rivulet, the sliding stream, the whispering breeze, the glance, the gleam, the flash, the bickering flame, the dashing wave, the gushing spring, the howling blast, the rattling storm, the pattering shower, the crimp earth, the mouldering tower, the twanging bowstring, the clanging arms, the clanking chains, the twinkling stars, the tinkling chords, the trickling drops, the twittering swallow, the cawing rook, the screeching owl; and a thousand other words and epithets, wonderfully suited to the sense they imply. Among the select
which we shall insert by way of illustration, the reader will find instances of all the different tropes and figures which the best authors have adopted in the variety of their poetical works, as well as of the apostrophe, abrupt transition, repetition, and prosopopeia.
In the mean time it will be necessary still further to analyze those principles which constitute the essence of poetical merit; to display those delightful parterres that teem' with the fairest flowers of imagination; and distinguish between the gaudy offspring of a cold insipid fancy, and the glowing progeny, diffusing sweets, produced and invigorated by the sun of genius.
Of all the implements of poetry, the metaphor is the most generally and successfully used, and indeed may be termed the Muse's caduceus, by the power of which she enchants all nature. The metaphor is a shorter simile, or rather a kind of magical coat, by which the same idea assumes a thousand different appearances. Thus the word plough, which originally belongs to agriculture, being metaphorically used, represents the motion of a ship at sea, and the effects of old age upon the human countenance
-Plough'd the bosom of the deep--
Almost every verb, noun substantive, or term of art in any language, may be in this manner applied to a variety of subjects with admirable effect; but the danger is in sowing metaphors too thick, so as to distract the imagination of the reader, and incur the imputation of deserting nature, in order to hunt after conceits. Every day produces
poems of all kinds, so inflated with metaphor, that they may be compared to the gaudy bubbles blown
up from a solution of soap. Longinus is of opinion, that a multitude of metaphors is never excusable, except in those cases when the passions are roused, and like a winter torrent rush down impetuous, sweeping them with collective force along. He brings an instance of the following quotation from Demosthenes ; « Men,» says he, « profligates, miscreants, and flatterers, who having seve