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must De introduced, and both are to be expressed and treated according to their nature and dignity.
The sublime style has the property of expressing lofty ideas in a lofty language; that is to fay, with words that are fonorous and majestic, and suitable to the grandeur of the subject.
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
On the crystalline Sky, in fapphire thron'd,
Illustrious far and wide
Before him pow'r divine his way prepar'd;
At his command th'uprooted hills retir'd,
Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went
Obsequious; heav'n his wonted face renew'd,
And with fresh stowrets hill and valley smil'd.
-Up he rode,
Follow'd with acclamation and the found
This description os the Messiah is to be admired for the sublimity of the thoughts, as well as for that of the style; as indeed is the following description of a tempest by Mr. Thomson.
'Tis dumb amaze, and list'ning terror all;
And opens wider, shats and opens still
More examples may be seen under the article of Sublime
The sublime style is ever bold and figurative, and abounds more especially with metaphors and hyperboles, the free use of which requires great care and judgment; •since without it there is danger of running into bombast, that is generally made up of empty founding words, or unnatural sentences; absurd methaphors, or extravagant and ram hyperboles.
This caution is necessary, and should be ever in the poet's mind; yet, where the thought is great and noble, a bold and judicious incorrectness, as Longinus has observed, may be dispensed with, and will often seem rather a beauty than a blemifli. The sublime poet, sired with his subject, and borne away on the wings of fancy, disdains accuracy, and looks down with contempt on little rules—Laws are, as it were, insufficient to restrain his boundless mind, which, having expatiated and ranfacked the whole universe, foars into other worlds, and is only lost m insinity.
Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
We are to observe likewife, that though the sublime style is bold and sigurative, sublime thoughts may sumetimes require only a plain and simple style, and may even by such contrast appear the more obvious and extraordinary. Many pasfages of this kind we have in the facred writings i and one which is particularly applauded as a true instance of sublimity by the great Lo/;ginus. And Gad'fan!. Let there be light, and there nuas light. This, as that great critic observes, exprefl'es the power of the Almighty more forcibly and fully than could have be^n done with a parade of pompous expressions.
"And Gad said,—What.'—Let there le light, and there nvas light." Such is the amazing power of the great Creator, that (as the Pfalmist in the fame plain yet sublime manner observes) He spake, and it <wai done ; he commanded, and it stood fasi.
Thus we see that sublime thoughts may fometimes appear to advantage in a common style. But the reverse' will by no means hold; for words can have neither beauty nor sublimity, unless the thoughts have both. The sublime style therefore will no more suit common thoughts, than an erobroider'd coat would a clown; for here ornaments are unnatural, nor indeed are mean and trivial thoughts ever thus dressed by good authors, unless it be in works of the burlesque and doggrel kind, to heighten the ridicule.
Sublime and beautisul thoughts, however, require in general words of the fame nature, and would often seem mean and contemptible without them. For ornaments properly placed add a beauty to the most beautisul: And kings, however nature may have formed them for majesty, appear to roost advantage when arrayed with the imperial robes.
This style is mostly employed in the epic poem, tragedy, and the ode. Though, as we have already observed, the elegy, fatire, pastoral, and other poems, may partake of it occasionally. For no particular rule can be laid down for its use, but asiriii observance of nature.
In direct opposition to this is the plain or humble style, the elegance of which depends on the propriety of its application; and it is properly applied in describing in a familiar and easy manner the common concerns of lise.
Whence is it, Sir, that none contented lives
Broken with toils, with pond'rous arms opprest,
When early clients thunder at the gate,
Francis's Ho RACE.
This style, though intended to express common things in a common manner, may fometimes be more courtly, and admit of compliment.
If virtue's self were lost, we might
This style agrees with comedy, fatires, pastorals and epistles, and occasionally fills up the narration and under partc of other poems.
But the young student is here to be cautioned against descending too low i elegance is to be preserved in every part of composition, and where propriety of character doe* not demand vulgar expressions, they are always to be avoided.
Between these, as a partition which serves to separate and yet at the fame time unite the other two, is the mediate or middle style; which is suitable to every species of poetry, as it admits of ornament susficient to distinguish it from the plain and humble, and yet is not animated enough to approach the sublime. Take an example from Ofway.
Wish'd morning's come! and now upon the plaini
There is alfo a species of style called the farcastical or invective, which is peculiar to the fatire and the epigram; and when style abounds with sigurative expressions, as the epic poem and sublimer ode more particularly do, we call it the florid style.
A style is alfo faid to be concife or diffuse, easy or strong, clear or obscure, brisk or flow, sweet, foft and fluent, or rough and unpleafant; all which are too obvious to need any explication. Abundant instances of these are to be found in our poets, and they are all (except the obscure) proper or improper, according to the nature and subject of the poem in which they appear; but obscurity is never to be admitted; for as the style that is clear is seldom faulty, the obscure ' and uncouth will always be su, and, after perplexing the mind of the reader, leave him dissatissied.
The rough style, however difagreeable it may be when improperly applied, enters with grace into several of the species of poetry, but especially into the epic poem and the tragedy; for where things jude and horrible are to be cxpresied, such words must be used as will represent all their difagreeable and dreadsul circumstances. The rough style therefore appears often with majesty and grandeur in the epic and tragedy; where we sind it frequently heightened by our best poets with a sew antiquated words, which they apprehend adds a dignity and folemnity to the style ( but great judgment is here required; none but a masterly hand should make these bold attempts; for if too many obfolete terms are admitted, or improperly placed, instead of dignity and folemnity, dulness and obscurity will succeed.
But here we are to observe, that the passions have a style in a manner peculiar to themselves; for fometimes the pathetic, and even the sublime (especially when united with pity and terror) is more emphatically expressed by a seasunable silence, ora sew plain words, than by a nupberof pompous periods. We shall give one instance out of a multitude in Shakespear. After a quarrel between Brutus and Cajsius, in which the justice and generous resentment of