« הקודםהמשך »
stood on those paths, and called the stranger to the feast. But Cathinor dwelt in the wood to avoid the voice of praise.
Dermid and Oscar were one: they reaped the battle together. Their friendship was strong as their steel; and death walked between them to the field. They rufli on the foe like two rocks falling from the brow of Ardven. Their swords are stained with the blood of the valiant: warriors faint at their name. Who is equal to Oscar but Dermid? who to Dermid but Oscar?
Son of Comhal, replied the chief, the strength of Mor. ni's arm has failed: I attempt to draw the sword of my youth, but it remains in its place: I throw the spear, but it falls short of the mark: and I feel the weight of my shield. We decay like the grafs of the mountain, and our strength returns no more. I have a son, O Fingal, his foul has delighted in the actions of Morni's youth • bus liis sword has not been fitted against the foe, neither has his fame begun. I come with him to battle; to direct his -arm. His renown will be a fun to my soul, in the dark hour of my departure, O that the name of Morni were forgot among the people! that the heroes would only fay, «« Behold the father of Gaul."
Some writers, through heat of imagination, fall into contradictions; some are guilty of down, right inconsistencies; and some even rave like madmen. Against such capital errors one cannot be more effectually warned than by collecting in-r stances; and the first shall be of a contradiction, the most venial of all. Virgil speaking of Neptune,
y»j,,II, W latere*
Interea magno misceri murmure pontum
Æneid. i. 128,
When first young Maro, in his boundless mind,
EJsay on Criticism, I. 130.
The following examples are of downright inconsistencies;
Alii pulsis e tormento catenis discerpti sectique, dimidiato corpore pugnabant sibi superstites, ac peremptae partis ultores. Strada, Dec, 2.1. 2
II pover huomo, che non fen' era accorto,
Andava combattendo, ed era morto. Btrni.
He fled, but flying, left his life behind.
Iliad, xi. 443.
Full through his neck the weighty falchion sped:
Odyjsey, xxii. 365.
The last article is of raving like one mad. Cleopatra speaking to the aspic,
Welcome, thou kind deceiver,
Dost open life, and unperceiv'd by us
Dryden, All for Love, a& 5.
1 *' it
Reasons that are common and known to every one, ought to be taken for granted .• to express them is childish, and interrupts the narration. ■Quintus Curtius, relating the battle of Issus,
Jam in conspectu, fed extra teli jactum, utraque aciei <rat; quum prioi'es Perfae inconditum et trucem iustuler-e •clamorem. Redditur et a Macedonibus major, exercitus impar numero, fed jugis montium vastHquc saltibus repercussus: quippe semper circumjeUla nemora petrœqiie* ftcantumcumque accepere voeem, multipiicato sono referunt.
Having discussed what observations occurred upon the thoughts or things expressed, I proceed to what more peculiarly concerns the language or verbal dress. The language proper for expressing passion being the subject of a former chapter, several observations there made are applicable to the present subject; particularly, That words being intimately connected with the ideas they represent, the emotions raised by the sound and by the sense ought to be concordant. An elevated subject requires an elevated style; what is fajniliar, ought to be familiarly expressed: a sub
Y« ject ject that is serious and important, ought to be cloathed in plain nervous language; a description, on the other hand, addressed to the imagination, is susceptible of the highest ornaments that sounding words and figurative expression can bestow upon it.
I shall give a few examples of the foregoing doctrine. A poet of any genius will not readily dress a high subject in low words; and yet blemishes of that kind are found even in some classical works. Horace, for example, observing tha,t men perfectly satisfied with themselves, are seldom so with their condition, introduces Jupiter indulging to each his own choice:
7am faciam quod vultis: eris tu, qui modo miles, Mercator: tu, consultus modo, rusticus: hinc vos$ Vos hinc mutatis discedite partibus: eia, Quid? statis? nolint: atqui licet esse beatis. . Quid causæ est, merito quin illis Jupiter ambas Jratus buccas inflet? neque fe fore posthac Tarn facilem dicat, votis ut præbeat aurem?
Serm. lib. i.sat. i. /. 16.
Jupiter in wrath puffing up both cheeks, is a low and even ludicrous expression, far from suitable to the gravity and importance of the subject: every one must feel the discordance. The following couplet, sinking far below the subject, is Hot less ludicrous;
Not one looks backward, onward still he goes, Yet ne'er looks forward farther than his nose. , Effay on Man, ep. iv. 223;
lie Rhin tremble et frémit à ces tristes nouvelles;
Le feu sort à travers ses humides prunelles.
C'est donc trop peu, dit-il, que l'Escaut en deux mois
Ait appris à couler fous de nouvelles loix;
Et de mille remparts mon onde environnée
De ces fleuves fans nom suivra la destinée?
Ah! périssent mes eaux, ou par d'illustres coupS
Montrons qui doit céder des mortels ou de nous.
A ces mots effuiantsa barbe limonneuse,
Il prend d'un vieux guerrier la figure poudreuse. '■
Son front cicatrice rend son air furieux,
Et l'ardeur du combat étincelle en ses yeux.
Boileau, epiire 4. l.éli
A god wiping his dirty beard is proper for bur-* lefk poetry only; and altogether unsuitable to the strained elevation of this poem.
On the other hand, to raise the expression above the tone of the subject, is a fault than which none is more common. Take the follow-» ing instances.
Orcan le plus fidèle à server ses desseins,
Îm e fous le ciel brûlant des plus noirs Aflricains.
I • Bajazet, ail 3. se. t,
Les ombres par trois fois ont obscurci les cieux