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mentioned: it reacheth even the slighter modifications. Slow action, for example, is imitated by words pronounced flow; labour or toil, by words harsh or rough in their found. But this subject has been already handled *.
In dialogue-writing, the condition of the speaker is chicly to be regarded in framing the expression. The centinel in Hamlet, interrogated with relation to the ghost whether his watch had been quiet, answers with great propriety for a man in his station, “ Not a mouse stirring t.”.
I proceed to a second remark, not less important than the former. No person of reflection but must be sensible, that an incident makes a Itronger impression on an eye-witness, than when heard at second hand. Writers of genius, fensible that the eye is the best avenue to the heart, represent every thing as passing in our fight; and from reaclers or hearers, transform us, as it were, into fpectators: a skilful writer conceals himself, and presents his personages : in a word, every thing becomes dramatic as much as possible. Plutarch, de gloria Atheniensium,
* Ch. 18. fect. 3.
+ One can scarce avoid smiling at the blindness of a certain oritic, who, with an air of self-sufficiency, condemns this expreso kon as low and vulgar. A French poet, says he, would express the same thought in a more sublime manner: “ Mais tout dort, et “ l'armée, et les vents, et Neptune.” And he adds, “ The “ English poct may pleale at London, but the French every where $ alle."
observes, obferves, that Thucydides makes his reader a spectator, and inspires him with the same passions as if he were an eye-witness. I am intitled to make the same observation upon our countryman Swift. From this happy talent arises that energy of style which is peculiar to him: he cannot always avoid narration ; but the pencil is his choice, by which he bestows life and colouring upon his objects. Pope is richer in ornament, but possesses not in the fame degree the talent of drawing from the life. A translation of the sixth satire of Horace, begun by the former, and finished by the latter, affords the fairest opportus nity for a comparison. Pope obvioully imitates the picturesque manner of his friend: yet every one of taste must be sensible, that the imitation, though fine, falls short of the original. In other instances, where Pope writes in his own style, the difference of manner is still more confpicu
Abstract or general terms have no good effect in any composition for amusement; because it is only of particular objects that images can be formed *. Shakespear's style in that respect is excellent: every article in his descriptions is particular, as in nature; and if accidentally a vague expression slip in, the blemish is extremely discernible by the bluntness of its impression. Take
* See chap. 4.
the following example: Falstaff, excusing himself for running away at a robbery, says, in
By the Lord, I knew ye, as well as he that made ye. Why, hear ye, my masters; was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest, I am as valiant as Hercules ; but beware instinct, the lion will not touch the true prince : instinct is a great matter. I was a coward on instinct: I Thall think the better of myself, and thee, during my life; I, for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money. Hostess, clap to the doors, watch to-night, pray tomorrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What, shall we be merry ? shall we have a play extempore?
First Part Henry IV. act 2, sc. 9.
The particular words I object to are, instinct is a great matter, which make but a poor figure, compared with the liveliness of the rest of the speech. It was one of Homer's advantages, that he wrote before general terms were multiplied: the superior genius of Shakespear displays itself in avoiding them after they were multiplied. Addison describes the family of Sir Roger de Coverley in the following words : se
You would take his valet de chambre for his brother, his butler is gray-headed, his groom is one of the gravest men that I have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks of a privy counsellor.
Spectator, No 106.
The The description of the groom is less lively than of the others; plainly because the expression, being vague and general, tends not to form any image. “ Dives opum variarum *,” is an expression still more yague; and so are the following:
- Mæcenas, mearum Grande decus, columenque rerum.
Horat. Carm. I. 2. ode 17.
et fide Tela
Horat. Carm. lib. 1. ode 17.
In the fine arts, it is a rule, to put the capital objects in the strongest point of view; and even to present them oftener than once, where it can be done. In history-painting, the principal figure is placed in the front, and in the best light: an equestrian statue is placed in a centre of streets, that it may be seen fron: many places at once. In no composition is there a greater opportunity for this rule than in writing:
Sequitur pulcherrimus Aftur, Aftur equo fidens et versicoloribus armis.
Æneid. x. 186.
Georg. 1. Ü. 468.
Full many a lady . .
With thee conversing I forget all time;
Paradise Lost, book 4. 1. 634.
What mean ye, that ye use this proverb, The father's have eaten sour grapes, and the childrens teeth are fet on : edge? As I live, faith the Lord God, ye shall not have