Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

ing his mind to the lowest objects; to which it may be added, that Vulgar Conversation will greatly contribute. There is no question but the Garret or the Printer's boy may often be discerned in the compositions made in such scenes and company; and much of Mr. Curl himself has been insensibly infused into the works of his learned writers.

The Physician, by the study and inspection of urine and ordure, approves himself in the science; and in like fort should our author accustom and exercise his imagination upon the dregs of nature.

This will render his thoughts truly and fundamentally low, and carry him many fathoms beyond Mediocrity. For, certain it is (tho’some lukewarm heads imagine they may be safe by temporizing between the extremes) that where there is not a Triticalness er Mediocrity in the Thought, it can never be funk into the genuine and perfect Bathos, by the most claborate low Expression. It can, at most, he only carefully obscured, or metaphorically debased. But 'tis the Thought alone that strikes, and gives the whole that spirit, which we admire and ftare at. For instance, in that inge, nious piece on a lady's drinking the Bath-waters:

ссор

Shc drinks! She drinks! Behold the matchless Tbus fire is water, water fire by turns, And the same stream at once both cools and burns. What can be more easy and unaffected than the Diction of these verses? 'Tis the Turn of Thought alone, and the Variety of Imagination, that charm and surprize us. And when the same lady goes into the Bath, the Thought (as in justness it ought) goes still deeper. = Venus bebeld her, 'midf her croud of Naves,

dame! To her 'tis water, but to ustis flame :

i Anon,

And thought herself just risen from the waves. How much out of the way of common sense is this reflection of Venus, not knowing herself from the lady?

Of the same nature is that noble mistake of a frighted stag in a full chace, who (faith the Poet) Hears his own feet, and thinks they found like more ; And fears the hind feet will oertake the fore.

So astonishing as these are, they yield to the following, which is Profundity itself,

* None but Himself can be his Parallel. Unless it may seem borrowed from the Thought of that Master of a Show in Smithfield, who writ in large letters, over the picture of his elephant, This is the greatest Elephant in the world, except

Himself.

* Idem.

" Theobald, Double Fallood,

However our next instance is certainly an original: Speaking of a beautiful Infant,

So fair thou art, that if great Cupid be
A child, as Poets foy, sure thou art be.
Fair Venus would mistake thee for her own,
Did not thy eyes proclaim thee not her fon.
There all the lightnings of thy Mother's shine,

And with a fatal brightness kill in thine. First he is Cupid, then he is not Cupid; first Venus would mistake him, then she would not mistake him ; next his Eyes are his Mother's, and lastly they are not his Mother's, but his own.

Another author, describing a Poet that shines forth amidst a circle of Critics,

Thus Phæbus tiri the Zodiac takes his way,
And amid Nionfiers rises into day.

What a peculiarity is here of invention? The Author's pencil, like the wand of Circe, turns all into monsters at a stroke. A great Genius takes things in the lump, without ftopping at minute contiderations: In vain might the ram, the bull, the goat, the lion, the crab, the scorpion, the files, all stand in his way, as mere natural animals : much more might it be pleaded that a pair of scales, an old man, and two innocent children, were no monsters: There were only the Centaur and the Maid that could be esteemed out of nature. But what of that? with a boldness peculiar

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

to these daring genius's, what he found not monsters, he made fo.

[ocr errors]

CA A P. VIII. Of the Profund, consisting in the Cir

cumstances, and of Amplification and Periphrase in general.

VITHAT in a great measure distinguishes

W other writers from ours, is their chusing and separating such circumstances in a description as ennoble or elevate the subject.

The circumstances which are most natural are cbrious, therefore not astonishing or peculiar. But those that are far-fetched, or unexpected, or hardly compatible, will surprise prodigiously. These therefore we must principally hunt out; but above all, preserve a laudable Prolixity; presenting the whole and every side at once of the image to view. For Choice and Distinction are not only a curb to the spirit, and limit the descriptive faculty, but also lessen the book; which is frequently of the worst consequence of all to our author.

When Job says in short, “ He washed his feet “ in butter,” (a circumstance fome Poets would have softened, or past over) now hear how this butter is spread out by the great Genius.

With teats diftended with their milky store, Such num'rous lowing herds, before my door, Their painful burden to unload did meet, That we with butter inight have wash'd cur feet. How cautious! and particular! He had (says our author) so many herds, which herds thriv'd lo well, and thriving so well gave so much milk, and that milk produced so much butter, that, if he did not, he might have waih'd his feet in it.

The ensuing description of Hell is no less remarkable in the circumstances.

* In fiaming beaps the reging ocean rolls,
Whose livid waves involve despairing souls;
The liquid burnings dreadful colours Macw,
Some deeply red and others faintly blue,

Could the most minute Dutch-painters have been more exact? How inimitably circumstantial is this also of a war-horse! * His eye-balls burn, he wounds the smoaking plain, And knots of scarlet ribbond deck his mane.

Of certain Cudgel-players : * They brandis high in air their threatning staves,

Their hands a woven guard of ozier saves. In which they fix their hazle weapon's end. ? Blackm. Job, p. 133. Pr. Arth. p. 89. Anon. i Pr. orth. p. 197.

(077

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »