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• Write, my Queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you fend.
Cymbeline, ail i.' sc. s.
As thus th' effulgence tremulous I drink.
• Summer, I. 1684.
Neque audit currus habenas:
Georg. 1. 514.
O Prince! (Lycaon's valiant son reply'd)
IHad, v. 28!.
The following figures of speech seem altogether wild and extravagant, the figurative and proper meaning having no connection whatever. Moving softness, Freshness breathes. Breathing prospect, Flowing spring, Dewy light, Lucid coolness, and many others of this false coin may be found in Thomson's Seasons. ■ ■.
Secondly, The proper fense of the word ought to bear some proportion to the figurative sense, and not soar much above it, nor sink much below it. This rule, as well as the foregoing, is finely illustrated by Vida:
Hsec adeo cum sint, cum fas audere poetis-
Tranflatisquc aliundc notis, longeque petitis,
Poet. /. ill. 148.
Thirdly, In a figure of speech, every circumstance ought to be avoided that agrees with the proper fense only, not the figurative sense; for it is the latter that expresses the thought, and the former serves for no other purpose but to make harmony:
Zacynthus green with ever-shady groves,
Odyssey, xix. 152.
Zacynthus here standing figuratively for the inhabitants, the description of the island is quite out of place: it puzzles .the reader, by making him doubt whether the word ought to be taken in its proper or figurative fense.
s Write, my Queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you fend,
Though ink be made of gall.
Cymbeline, a& I. sc. l.
The disgust one has to drink ink in reality, is not to the purpose where the subject is drinking ink figuratively.
In the fourth place, To draw consequences from a figure of speech, as if the word were to be understood literally, is a gross absurdity, for it is confounding truth with fiction:
Be Moubray's sins so heavy in his bosom,
Richard II. all l.si. 3.
Sin may be imagined heavy in a figurative fense: but weight in a proper fense belongs to the accessory only; and therefore to describe the effects of weight, is to desert the principal subject, and to convert the accessory into a principal:
Cromwell. How does your Grace i
Wolsey. Why, well; Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell. I know myself now, and I feel within me A peace above all earthly dignities, A still and quiet conscience. The King has cur'd me, I humbly thank his Grace; and, from these shoulders, These ruin'd pillars, out of pity, taken
A. load would sink a navy, too much honour.
Henry VIII. ail 3. sc. 4.
Ulyfles speaking of Hector:
I wonder now how yonder city stands,
Troilus and Creffida, acl ^.fc. 9.
Othello. No, my heart is turn'd to stone: I strike it^ »nd it hurts my hand. Othello, atl 4, fe. $,
Not less, even in this despicable now,
Than when my name fill'd Afric with affrights,
And froze your hearts beneath your torrid zone.
Don Sebastian King of Portugal, acl 1.
How long a space, since first I lov'd, it is!
To look into a glass I fear,
Grey hairs and wrinkles there.
Cow ley, vol. 1. p. S6.
I chose the flourilhing'st tree in all the park,
I cut my love into his gentle bark,
My very written flames so violent be,
They've burnt and wither'd up the tree.
Cowley, vol. I. />. 136*,
Ah, mighty Love, that it were inward heat
That flic weeps tears so wond'rous cold,
So coid, that I admire they fall not hail.
Cowley, vol. 1. p. 132,
Such a play of words is pleasant in a ludicrous poem.
Almeria, O Alphonso, Alphonso!
Mourning Bride, aSli.sc.i.
This would be very right, if there were any in
consistence, in being interred in one place really,
and in another place figuratively.
Je crains que cette saison «
Ne nous amenne la peste;
La gueule du chien celeste
Vomit feu fur l'horison.
A fin que je m'en délivre,
Je veux lire ton gros livre
Jusques au dernier feuillet:
Tout ce que ta plume trace,
Robinet, a de la glace
A fair trembler Juillet. Maynard,