תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Above the clouds, but still within our fight, They mount with truth, and make a tow'ring

flight; Presenting things impossible to view, They wander thro' incredible to true: Falsehoods, thus mix'd, like metals are refin’d, And truth, like silver, leaves the drofs behind.

Thus poetry has ample space to foar, Not needs forbidden regions to explore : Such vaunts as his who can with patience read, Who thus describes his hero flain and dead: 66 (4) Kill'd as he was, insensible of death, 4 He still fights on, and scorns to yield his breath *.”

The beyond credibility. Custom has likewise familiarized another way for hyperboles, for example, by irony; as when we say of Come infamous woman ihe is a civil person, where the meaning is to be taken quite opposite to the letter. These few figures are mentioned only for example fake ; it will be understood that all others are to be used with the like care and discretion,

(4) I needed not to have travelled so far for an extravagant Aight; I remember one of British growth of the like nature :

See those dead bodies hence convey'd with care,
Life may perhaps return--with change of air.

* Ariosto.

But

The noisy culverin, o'ercharg'd, lets fly,
And burit unaiming in the rended sky.
Such frantic flights are like a madman's dream,
And Nature suffers in the wild extreme.
The captive Cannibal, weigh'd down with

chains,
Yet braves his foes, reviles, provokes, disdains;
Of nature fierce, untameable, and proud,
He grins defiance at the gaping crowd,

But I chuse rather to correct gently, by foreign examples, koping that such as are conscious of the like excesses will take the hint, and secretly reprove themselves. It may be possible for some tempers to maintain rage and indignation to the last gasp; but the soul and body once parted, there must necesarily be a determination of action.

Quodcunquc oftendis mihi lic incredulus odi. I cannot forbear quoting, on this occasion, as an example for the present purpose, two noble lines of Jasper Maine's, in the collection of the Oxford Verses printed in the year 1643, upon the death of my grandfather Sir Bevil Granville, Nain in the heat of action at the battle of Lansdowne. The poet, after having described the fight, the soldiers animated by the example of their leader, and enraged at his death, thus concludes,

Thus he being nain, his action fought anew,

And the dead conquer'd, whilst the living Aėw. This is agreeable to truth, and within the compass of nature : it is thus only that the dead can act.

And

And spent at last, and speechless as he lies, With looks still threatening; mocks their rage

and dies. This is the utmost stretch that Nature can, And all beyond is fulsome, false, and vain.

Beauty's the theme ; fome nymph divinely · fair .. Excites the Muse: let truth be even there; As painters flatter, fo may poets too, But to resemblance must be ever true. “(5) The day that she was born, the Cyprian

“ Queen “ Had like thave dy'd thro' envy and thro

spleen ;
(5) Le jour qu'elle naquit, Venus bien qu'immortelle,

Pensa mourir de honte, en la voyant si belle,
Les Graces a l'envi descendirent des cieux,
Pour avoir l'honeur d'accompagner ses yeux';
Et l'Amour, qui ne put entrer dans fon courage,

Voulut obftinément longer sur son visage. . This is a lover's description of his mistress by the great Core neille ; civil, to be fure, and polite as any thing can be. Let any body turn over Waller, and he will see how much more naturally and delicately the English author treats the article of, love than this celebrated Frenchman. I would not however be thought, by any derogatory quotation, to take from the merit of a writer whose reputation is so universally and so

“ The Graces in a hurry left the skies “ To have the honour to attend her eyes, ; “ And Love, despairing in her heart a place, “Would needs take up his lodging in her

" face *."

jufily established in all nations; but, as I said before, I rather chuse, where any failings are to be found, to correct my own countrymen by foreign examples, than to provoke them by instances drawn from their own writings; bumanum eft errare. I cannot forbear one quotation more from another celebrated French author. It is an epigram upon a monument for Francis 1. King of France, by way of quellion and answer, which in English is verbatim thus :

Ceder this marble who lies buried here?
Francis the Great, a king beyond compare.
Why has so great a king so small a stone ?
Of that great king here's but the heart alone.
Then of this conqueror here lies but part?

No-here he lies all--for he was all heart. The author was a Gascon, to whom I can properly oppose nobody so well as a Welchman; for which purjose I am farther fornished, from the fore-mentioned collection of Oxford Verses, with an epigram by Martin Lluellin upon the same subject, which I remember to have heard often repeated to me when I was a boy. Bclides, from whence can we draw better examples than from the very feat and nursery of the Mules? i Corneille.

Thus

D 2.

Tho' wrote by great Corneille, such lines as.

these, we .
Such civil nonsense, süre could never please
Waller, the best of all th' inspired train,'
To melt the fair instructs the dying swain,

Thus flain, thy vallant ancestor * did lie,
When his one bark a navy did defy;
When now encompass'd round he vi&tor food,
And bath’d his pinnace in his conquering blood,
Till, all the purple current dry'd-and'spent,

He fell, and made the waves his monument. . " Where shall the next fam'd Granville's athes fland?

Thy grandfire’s fill the sea, and thine the land, I cannot say the two last lines, in which confift the fting or point of the epigram, are strictly conformable to the rule herein set down : the word akes, metaphorically, can fignify nothing but fame, which is mere found, and can fill no space either of land or sea : the Welchman liowever must be allowa ed to have outdone the Gascon. The fallacy of the French epigram appears at first óight; but the English Atrikes the fancy, fufpends and dazzles the judgment, and may perhaps be allowed to pass under the shelter of those daring hyperboles which, by presenting an obvious meaning, make their way, according to Seneca, through the incredible to true.

* Sir Richard Granville, Vice-admiral of England, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, maintained a fight with his single ship against the whole armada of Spain, consisting of filtythree of their best men of war,

The

« הקודםהמשך »