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stance in heightening a description, the following paffage may be produced from his Summer, where, relating the effects of heat in the torrid zone, he is led to take notice of the pestilence, that destroyed the English fleet at Carthagena under Admiral Vernon..
- You, gallant Vernon, faw
The frequent corse. All the circumstances, here selected, tend to heighten the dismal scene; but the last image is the most striking in the picture.
Of descriptive narration there are beautiful examples in Parnell's Tale of the Hermit. The setting forth of the hermit to visit the world, his meeting a companion, and the houses, in which they are entertained, of the vain man, the covetous man, and the good man, are pieces of highly finished painting. But the richest and the most remarkable of all the descriptive poems in the English language are the Allegro and the Penseroso of Milton. They are the storehouse, whence many succeeding poets have enriched their descriptions, and are inimitably fine poems. Take, for instance, the following lines füom the Penferoso ;
I walk unseen
Here are no general expressions; all is picturesque, expressive, and concise. One strong point of view is exhibited to the reader; and the impression made is lively and interesting.
In the second Æneid the facking of Troy is so particularly described, that the reader finds himself in the midst of the scene. The death of Priam is a masterpiece of description. Homer's battles are all wonderful. Offian too paints in strong colors, and is remarkable for touching the heart. He thus pourtrays the ruins of Balclutha ;, “ I have seen the walls of Balclu“ tha; but they were desolate. The fire had resound« ed within the halls; and the voice of the people is. « now heard no more. The stream of Clutha was re.. “ moved from its place by the fall of the walls; the « thistle shook there its lonely head ;, the moss whistled “ to the wind. The fox looked out of the window; “ the rank grass waved round his head. Desolate is, “ the dwelling of Moina ; silence is in the house of her. « fathers.”
Much of the beauty of descriptive poetry depends up on a proper choice of epithets. Many poets are often careless in this particular; hence the multitude of un.. meaning and redundant epithets. Hence the “ Liqui« di Fontes” of Virgil, and the “ Prata Canis Albi. « cant Pruinis” of Horace. To observe that water is liquid, and that snow is white, is little better, than mere tautology. Every epithet should add a new idea to the word, which it qualifies. So in Milton;
Who shall tempt with wandering feet
His uncouth way? Or spread his airy flight;
The description here is strengthened by the epithet's The wandering feet, the unbottomed abyss, the palpaBle obscure, the uncouth way, the indefatigable wing, are all happy expressions,
THE POETRY OF THE HEBREWS.
N treating of the various kinds of poetry that of the Scriptures justly deserves a place. The facred books present us the most antient monuments of poetry now extant, and furnish a curious subject of criticism. They diso play the taste of a remote age and country. They exhibit a singular, but beautiful species of compofition, and it must give great pleasure, if we find the beauty and dignity of the style adequate to the weight and importance of the matter. Dr. Lowth's learned treatise on the poetry of the Hebrews ought to be perused by all. It is an exceedingly valuable work both for elegance of style and justness of criticism. We cannot do better than to follow the track of this ingenious author.
Among the Hebrews poetry was cultivated from the earliest times. Its general construction is fingular and peculiar. It consists in dividing every period into correspondent, for the most part into equal members,
which answer to each other both in sense and found. In the first member.of a period a sentiment is expressed; and in the second the fame sentiment is amplified, or repeated in different terms, or sometimes contrasted with its opposite. Thus, “ Sing unto the Lord a new se fong ; ing unto the Lord all the earth. Sing unto 4 the Lord, and bless his name ; shew forth his salvation s6 from day to day. Declare his glory among the “ heathen ; his wonders among all people."
This form of poetical composition is deduced from the manner, in which the Hebrews sung their facred hymns. These were accompanied with music, and performed by bands of singers and musicians, who al. ternately answered each other. One band began the hymn thus ; « The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice ;" and the chorus, or semi-chorus, took up the correspond. ing versicle ; “ Let the multitudes of the isles be glad 66 thereof."
But, independent of its ' ecufiar mode of construction, the facred poetry is distinguished by the highest beauties of strong, concise, bold, and figurative expression. Conciseness and strength are two of its most remarkable characters. The sentences are always short. The fame thought is never dwelt upon long. Hence the fublimity of the Hebrew poetry ; and all writers, who attempt the sublime, might profit much by imitating in this respect the style of the old testament. No writings abound fo much in bold and animated figures, as the