Imágenes de páginas

A man in haste, or under the power of some passion,* will naturally omit some words, that he may deliver his message as quick as possible, or that he may instantly relieve his mind which is impatient of all delay. And a man that is desirous that he may entirely and fully communicate what he feels or means himself to others, will naturally deliver himself with a kind of slow deliberation, and take care that his ideas are imparted distinct and separate, rather than in a throng or cluster/ ."u The "Asyndeton" fays the learned Doctor Ward, «* leaves out the connecting particles, to repre** sent either the celerity of an action, or the "haste and eagerness of the speaker: and the ** Polysyndeton adds a weight and gravity to an «* expression, and makes what is said to appear « with an air of solemnity; and, by retarding "the course of the sentence, gives the mind an «« opportunity to consider and reflect upon eveiry "part distinctly f." ... "\. ...:rj

f Ward's SyJItm 0/Oratory, vol. ii, p. 50, 51.



The Oxymoron considered.'

$ I. Oxymoron defined. § 2. Examples of it in common, familiar conversation. % 3. Instances of this Figure from Barrow, Davies, AddiSon, Pope, Young, and Horace. § 4. Instances from Scripture. §5. Remarks and cautions as to the Oxymoron.

§ 1. (~\Xymoron * is a Figure in which the ^ parts of a period or sentence disagree in sound, but perfectly accord with one another in meaning •, or, if I may so call it, it is fense in the masquerade of folly.

§ 2. We may find instances of this kind in the common language of mankind, or that may

appear very easy and natural in familiar conversation. A coward dies often, a brave man but ence. He is a living death, said of a man in a consumption, or of a malefactor under condemnation. An idiot or a madman is his own grave.


• From o£t;{, /barf, and i/.ue&, faolijh; or ingenuity under

she appearance of folly.


No one poorer than that rich man, or he is only a rich beggar, spoken' of a wealthy miser. An hoary-headed child, the character of a foolisti, libidinous old man. So a Christian may be laid, never to be less alone, than when alone, because he then converses with his God. Such a man is unreasonably reasonable, that is, he does not so readily as he ought submit himself to divine sovereignty, but will ever be prying into the reasons of the divine conduct, when God has evidently seen sit impenetrably to conceal them. He is unmercifully merciful; by which character we mean a Prince who does not punish flagitious offenders in such a manner, as a wife regard to the general good of his subjects requires. And thus we may call the afflictions of a good man, according to that blessed view in which the Scripture represents them, salutary wounds, healthful diseases, happy pains, profitable losses, bitter sweets, and exalting abasements.

§ 3. We may meet with examples of the Oxymoron in some of the finest Writers. •** No con"dition, fays Dr Barrow, in effect, can be evil, "or fad to a pious man; his very sorrows are "pleasant, his infirmities are wholsome, his "wants enrich him, his disgraces adorn him f." "Alas! fays Mr Davies, while you are neglect"ing the one thing needful, what are you do


f Sermon on the Profitableness of Godlinesi, vol. i. p. 17.

Folio edition.


"ing, but spending your time and labour in la"borious idleness, honourably debasing your"selves, delightfully tormenting yourselves, "wisely befooling yourselves, and frugally im« poverisliing, and ruining yourselves for ever *."

May we not range under this Figure the last of the following lines of Mr Addison?

Remember what our father oft has told us:
The ways of Heav'h are dark and intricate,
Puzzled in mazes, and perplex'd with errors:
Our understanding traces them in vain,
Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search;
Nor sees with how much art the windings run,
Nor where the regular confusion ends ft

May we not also ascribe to this Figure the following verses of Mr. Pope?

All nature is but art, unknown to thee;

AH chance, direction, which thou canst not fee;

All discord, harmony not understood;

All partial evil, universal good:

And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,

One truth is clear, Whatever Is, Is Right J.

Has not Dr Young exemplified the Oxymoron^ when he fays,

How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,

How complicate, how wonderful is man!


Davies's Sermons, vol. ii. page 376.

•f- Addison's Works, vol. ii. page 25. Ojstavo edition.

% Efay on Man, epist. i. line 289.


How passing wonder He, who made him such

Who center'd in our make such strange extremes!
From different natures marveloufly mix'd,
Connexion exquisite of distant worlds!
Distinguished link in being's endless chain;
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam etherial, sulli'd and absorpt;
Tho' sulli'd and dishonours, still divine!
Dim miniature of greatness absolute!
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal! infect infinite!
A worm, a God! I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! At home a stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, surpris'd, aghast,
And wond'ring at her own: how reason reels!
O what a miracle to man is man,
Triumphantly distress'd! what joy, what dread I
Alternately transported, and alarm'd!
What can preserve my life? or what destroy?
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave j
Legions of angels can't confine me there *.

But there is no Oxymoron that occurs to my mind, so bold and grand as that in Dr Young'* piece, intitled, Resignation:

Not angels (hear it, and exult!)

Enjoy a larger share
Than is indulg'd to you and yours,

Of God's impartial care:
Anxious for each, as if on each

His care for all was thrown j
For all his care as absolute,

As all had been but one.

R 2 And

» Young'* Night Thoughts, book i, line 67.

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