Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Bitter despight with rancour's rusty knife,

And fretting grief, the enemy of lifej

All these, and many evils moe * haunt ire,

The swelling spleen, and phrenzy raging rife,
The shaking palsey, and St Frauncis' fire-:
Such one was Wrath, the last of this ungodly tire f.

And after all, upon the waggon-beam
Rode Satan, with a smarting whip in hand,

With which he forward lafh'd the lazy team, So oft as Sloth still in the mire did stand. Huge routs of people did about them band,

Shouting for joy; and still before their way A foggy mist had cover'd all the land;

And underneath their feet all scatter'd }ay /., ■ . ,-.

Dead skulls and bones of men, whose life had gone '' ^ astray J.

I might add, to the instances of the good qr bad qualities of the mind, or the passions and appetites of human nature being described as real and distinct persons, the following lines from Sir Richard Blackmore:

With swiftest wing the fears of future fate
Elude the guards, and pass the palace-gate;
Traverse the lofty rooms, and uncontroll'd *
Fly hov'ring round the painted roofs, and bold I
To the rich arras cling, and perch on busts of gold ||. )

Several qualities of the mind are transformed
■- ..... . into

• More. f Rank, row.

% Spenser's fairy Queen, book i. canto 4. stanza iS.

|| Blackmore's Creation, bookiv. line 13.

into persons in the following verses, and particularly Hypocrisy;

So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd }

For neither man nor angel can discern

Mypocrisy, the only evil that walks

Invisible, except to God alone,

By his permissive will thro' heav'n and earth j

And oft tho' Wisdom wake, Suspicion fleeps

At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity ,

Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill

Where no ill seems —— *

Horror is personified, and made the plume of Satan's helmet,

His stature reach'd the Iky, and on his crest
Sat Horror plum'd +

"How much nobler an idea is this than the "horses tails, and sphinxes, and dragons, and "other terrible animals on the helmets of the "ancient heroes, or even than the chimera vo"miting flames on the crest of Turnus? Æneid, « vii. 785; J."

In like manner Despair is represented as a per-, son by the same great Poet;

Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch ||.

■■■"■ § 3,

* Paradise lost, book iii. line 681. f Ibid, book iv. line 988. - % Note on this passage in Or Newton's edition of Milteth I Paradise last, book xi, ime 490.

§ 3. The Prosopopcia clothes with corporeal forms, or endows with speech and action other general notions and abstracted ideas, besides what relate to the human mind.

Nothing perhaps is more generally observed, than that time which is past seems to have been quickly and surprisingly gone, but that time to come appears long and tedious: but it required the genius of Dr Young to raise and enliven this thought in the wonderful manner in which he has effected it. Time, I suppose, as he is commonly painted, that is, as " an old man with a pair of wings," struck the Doctor's imagination, and he accordingly breaks out,

Time in advance behind him hides his wings,
And seems to creep, decrepit with his age;
Behold him when past by; what then is seen
But his broad pinions swifter than the wind*?

Like as a large bird, suppose an eagle or vulture, coming in full speed towards us, may seem com-. paratively to move slow, and may actually conceal its wings in great measure behind its body, but when past by us appears to drive forwards with a new accumulated rapidity, and displays in full sight die ample dimensions of its wideexpanded pinions; such is the cafe with Time as to its approaches and its retrospect. The image Dr Young adopts perfectly agrees with nature, and the more we consider, the more we approve

ic;

Night Thought, bookii.

it; than which there cannot be a greater compliment to the genius of a Writer, and indeed such an examination is the touchstone of composition.

Very beautiful is the epitaph of the celebrated Ben j. Johnson upon the Countess-dowager of Pembroke, sister to Sir Philip Sydney, and contains two elegant instances of the Prosopopeia.

Underneath this fable herse
Lies the subject of all verse;
Sydney's sister, Pembroke's mother:
Death, ere thou hast kill'd another,
Wise, and virtuous, good as me,
Time will throw its dart at thee.

Virgil thus describes Fame;

Fame, of all ills the swiftest in its course,
By motion gathers, and augments its force;
Low creeps at first, but swells t' enormous size,
Stalks thro' the woild, and tow'rs into the skies *.

The great Cicero, in his first oration against Catiline, an oration that for rhetorical force and beauty transcends all praise, introduces his Country, or the Commonwealth, as speaking

first

* Fama, malum quo non atiud velocius nlliun,
Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo:
Parva metu primo; mox sese attollit in auras,
Ingrediturque solo, & caput inter nubila condit.

Virgil. Æneti. lib. iv. ver. 174.

[ocr errors]

first to Catiline, and afterwards to himself. To Catiline his country thus addresses herself: "Your Country, Catiline, thus pleads with "you, and, as it were, thus whispers in your ear. There has been no enormity for a course "of years, but what has sprung from you. "There has been no outrage, but has had you ** for its author. The murders of many citi"zens, the oppression and plundering of myal"lies, these have been perpetrated by you with "impunity and without animadversion. You "have not only slighted law and justice, but you ~" have overturned and dissolved them. These "former crimes, though in themselves not fit to "be tolerated,- I have endured as well as I "could •, but it is past all patience that I should "always be kept in panic upon your account, ** that upon every motion Catiline is to be "dreaded, and that there can be no plot at any "time laid against me, in which your wickedness "has not its concern. Be gone then, and rid "me from my alarms; if they are just, that I "may not be crushed by your treason; or if «« they are groundless, that I may at length be "delivered from my fears *."

The

• Quae (se. patria) tecum, Cati'.ina! sic agit, $c quodfltnmodo tacita loquitur. Nullum jam tot annos farinas exstitir, nisi per te: nullum flagitium sine te; tibi uni multorum civium neces, tibi vexaiio, direptioque sociorum impunita suit, ac libera: tu non iblum ad negligendas leges & quæslioues, verumetiam ad evertendas, perfringendasque valuilli. Suj eriora ilia, quamquam fe: end a non fuerunt, tamen, ut po ui.

tuli:

« AnteriorContinuar »