Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

with a raven in its original, fiiould be made to agree with it in a metaphorical state?

Archbishop Tit-lotson, speaking of that malignant spirit in mankind, which is fond of discerning spots in the brightest characters, remarks, "that when persons of this cast have heard men's tioned any virtue in their neighbour, it is well "if to balance the matter, and set things even, "they do not clap some infirmity or fault into "the other scale, that so the enemy may not go ** off with flying colours *.". .' We have the £c|eas of casting a weight into a scale, and a man's coming in triumph from a field of battle, very injudiciously blended together, for what, conceivable affinity is there between a pair of scales and flying colours?

Mr Addison, one of the happiest masters of Metaphor that perhaps ever wrote, has sometimes failed even in this point of excellency. "There is not, fays he, a single view of human "nature which is not sufficient to extinguish the ** seeds of pride." "• In this passage," fays Mr Mej-moth, who both recites and blames it, " he *« evidently unites images together which have "no connection with each other. When a seed •* has lost its power of vegetation, I might, in "a metaphorical fense, fay, it is extinguished; "but when in the same sense I call that disposi«« tion of the heart which produces pride, the «s seed of that passion, I cannot, without intro

"during

* Sermon against Enil-sptaking, Vol. iv. page 433. Octavo edition.

*' during a confusion of ideas, apply any word *' to.feed, but what corresponds with its real "properties and circumstances, A judicious "Writer, fays the fame Mr Melmoth *, will ob"serve an impropriety in one of the late Essays "of the fame inimitable Author (mtaddison) "where he tells us, that Women were formed ta "temper mankind, not to set an edge upon theij: "minds, and blow up in them those, passion* «* which are too apt to rise of their own accord.'* How great is the confusion occasioned by the association of such different ideas, as, setting an edge upon the mind, and blowing up our paffions, in the fame sentence \

Nay, not Cicero himself is exempted, with all his incomparable talents, from incoherence of Metaphor. What think we of such a passage as the following ?" For as when I walk in the fun, "though I walk for another end, it . is so ordered "by nature that I receive some change in my "complexion; so when I more carefully read "those books at Misenum, for I had scarce time "to do it at Rome, I found my own composi"tion to be coloured by their strains \." What congruity is there between being coloured and strains? and how unhappily are the senses of seeing and hearing confounded together?

D 4 The

Fitz-osborne'sLetters, vol.ii. page 55. •f- Ut, cum in sole ambulem, etiamsi ob aliatn can dm ambulem, fieri natura tamen, ut colorer; fie cum istos libros ad Misenum (nam Romæ vix licet) studiosius legerim, scntio Orationem meam illorum cantu quasi coloiari. Cicer. lit ,Qral. lib. ii. J J4,

The same incoherence of Metaphors we may observe in another passage from the fame celebrated Writer: "O noble stock!" meaning the family of the Scipios •, " and as scions of various f" !.aids of trees may be ingrafted into one stock,

ib in this family the wisdom of multitudes was "inserted and illuminated *." Inserted perfectly accords with stock and trees; but illuminated is undoubtedly a foreign and improper idea, and belongs to a very different class of images,

§ 13. Having freely pointed out some of the 'slips of the greatest Writers in their Metaphors, and shewn you that what Horace fays of Homer may be applied to them, that even Homer'j muse will sometimes nod f, I cannot prevail upon myself to quit the subject, without selecting from the Authors, whose spots I have discovered, some of their charming Metaphors, that I may not seem to take a pleasure in detecting their faults, .and leaving the instances of them unatoned with, examples of their incomparable beauties. The fame Dr Doddridge, whom we have censured for incoherent Metaphors, gives us the following uniform and delightful Metaphors in his practical improvement of Acts viii. 4. "Therefore they ** that were scattered abroad^ went every where

"freaching

• O generosam stirpem, 8c tanquaro in unam arborem plura genera, sic in istarb domum multorum insitam, atque illuminatum sapientiam. Cicer. de clarii Oratoribui, $ 58.

-J- . Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus.

Horat. dt ArtePctt. ver. 359.

[graphic]

* preaching the word. In mercy, says he, there** fore to the Churches, and even to themselves, ** whose truest happiness was connected with «■ their usefulness, were they, like so many clouds "of Heaven, driven different ways by the wind "of persecution, that so they might empty them•** selves in fruitful showers on the several tracts "of land, through which they went preaching "the Gospel." What a smooth continuance is here of the Metaphor first assumed! and what a just and pleasing resemblance do we find throughout the whole passage between the Missionaries of the Gospel, and the clouds of Heaven distiling their precious blessings upon the earth!

What an harmony of Metaphors, from first to last, is there in the following lines of Dr Young!

Eternity's vast ocean lies before thee.
Give thy mind sea-room; keep it wide of earth, ■;,
That rock of souls immortal; cut thy cord;
Weigh anchor; spread thy sail; call ev'ry wind;
Eye thy great pole-star; make the land of life *.

What consistent as well as expressive Metaphors are contained in the following passage of Archbishop Tillotson!" Transubstantiation, "says he, is like a milstone hung about the "neck of Popery, which will sink it at the last. "And though some of their greatest Wits have "undertaken the defence of it in great volumes,

"yet

* Young's Night Thoughts book vii.

"yet it is an absurdity of that monstrous and "massy weight, {hat. no human authority or ** wit.- are able to support it-. It will make ^^e-jVexy ,pillar$r of Saint Peter's crack, and, **.,requires, more volumes to make it good than ", wfuld sill the Vatican f" If I was to propose. . any alteration in this passage, it mould be towards the end of the paragraph, and in the, room of faying, it requires more volumes to make it, seed, I would rather fay, it requires more volumes to maintain its reputation, or support its faith in she world. With some such amendment the Me^ taphors are not only quite similar, but the passage affords as just and striking a descriptbn,of the na? sure and future fate of Transubstantiation, as can well be conceived to be in the power of languagey. Mr Addison has given us a very proper and perfectly consistent Metaphor in the following passage: ** And if there be so much art, says "he, in the choice of fit precepts, there is much "more required in the treating Of them,, that "'they may fall in with each other by'a natural "and unforced method, and shew theiriselves in *'the best and most advantageous light. They •«• should be all so finely wrought together in the 'c*» lame piece, that no coarse seam may discover *<; Where they join,: as" in a curious brede of nee•**■ die-work, ;6ne colour falls away by such just "degrees, and .anOtfh^r'-riles so insensibly, that '*l we see the. variety, -without being able to dis• \' "tinguish

+ Discourse. tn'Tn&isHbstantiaticti. Vol. iii. f. 359. Octavo edition.

« AnteriorContinuar »