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As when the potent rod
Section V.-A Figure which, among related objects, ex
tends the properties of one to another.
The rretines"eh Candahilantention
it other trnilarican accia prevena similar " Propuesta a pune veniva voor
one subject are extended to another with which it is connected; and the expression of such a thought must be considered as a figure, because the attribute is not applicable to the subject in any proper sense.
How are we to account for this figure, which we see lies in the thought, and to what principle shall we refer it? Have poets a privilege to alter the nature of things, and at pleasure to bestow attributes upon a subject to which they do not belong? We have had often occasion to inculcate, that the mind passeth easily and sweetly along a train of connected objects; and, where the objects are intimately connected, that it is disposed to carry along the good and bad properties of one to another, especially when it is in any degree inflamed with these properties. From this principle is derived the figure under consideration. Language, invented for the communication of thought, would be imperfect, if it were not expressive even of the slighter propensities and more delicate feelings. But language cannot remain so imperfect among a people who have received any polish; because language is regulated by internal feeling, and is gradually improved to express whatever passes in the mind. Thus, for example, when a sword in the hand of a coward is termed a coward sword, the expression is significative of an internal operation; for the mind, in passing from the agent to its instrument, is disposed to extend to the latter the properties of the former. Governed by the same principle, we say listening fear, by extending the attribute listening of the man who listens, to the passion with which he is moved. In the expression bold deed, we extend to the effect what properly belongs to the cause. But, not to waste time by making a commentary upon every expression of this kind, the best way to give a complete view of the subject, is to exhibit a table of the different relations that may give occasion to this figure. And, in viewing the table, it will be observed, that the figure can never have any grace but where the relations are of the most intimate kind.
1. An attribute of the cause expressed as an attribute of the effect:
Of yonder fleet a bold discovery make.
To my advent'rous song,
PARADISE Lost. 2. An attribute of the effect expressed as an attribute of the cause: No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height.
PARADISE Lost. 3. An effect expressed as an attribute of the cause :
Jovial wine, Giddy, brink, Drowsy night, Musing midnight, Panting height, Astonish'd thought, Mournful gloom. Casting a dim religious light.
MILTON, COMUS And the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound. MILTON, ALLEGRO. 4. An attribute of a subject bestowed upon one of its parts or members:
the fearful hollow of thine ear.
ROMEO AND JULIET.-Act. III. Sc. 7.
Oh, lay by
FAIR PENITENT.-ACT III.
And ready now
PARADISE LOST.-Book III. 5. A quality of the agent given to the instrument with which it operates:
Why peep your coward swords half out their shells ? 6. An attribute of the agent given to the subject upon which it operates : High-climbing hill.
7. A quality of one subject given to another :
When sapless age, and weak unable limbs
ILIAD, xxiii. 385.
SUMMER, 1. 1336.
ILIAD, i. 301.
ODYSSEY, v. 395. From this table it appears, that the adorning a cause with an attribute of the effect, is not so agreeable as the opposite expression. The progress from cause to sembles retrograde
motion; and therefore panting height, 6 204 astonished thought, are strained and uncouth expressions, which a writer of taste will avoid.
It is not less strained to apply to a subject, in its
ILIAD, v. 411.
How dare thy joints forget To pay their awful duty to our presence?
RICHARD II.-Act III. Sc. 6. The connexion between an awful superior and his submissive dependant is so intimate, that an attribute may readily be transferred from the one to the other; but awfulness cannot be so transferred, because it is inconsistent with submission.
ELEMENTS OF CRITICISM.
Section VI.—Metaphor and Allegory. A METAPHOR differs from a simile in form only, not in substance: in a simile, the two subjects are kept distinct in the expression, as well as in the thought; in a metaphor, the two subjects are kept distinct in the thought only, not in the expression. A hero resembles a lion, and upon that resemblance many similies have been raised by Homer and other poets. But instead of resembling a lion, let us take the aid of the imagination, and feign or figure the hero to be a lion: by that variation the simile is converted into a metaphor; which is carried on by describing all the qualities of a lion that resemble those of the hero. The fundamental pleasure here, that of resemblance, belongs to the thought. An additional pleasure arises from the expression: the poet, by figuring his hero to be a lion, goes on to describe the lion in appearance, but in reality the hero; and his description is peculiarly beautiful, by expressing the virtues and qualities of the hero in new terms, which, properly speaking, belong not to him, but to the lion. This will better be understood by examples. A family connected with a common parent, resembles a tree, the trunk and branches of which are connected with a common root; but let us suppose, that a family is figured, not barely to be like a tree, but to be a tree; and then the simile will be converted into a metaphor, in the following
Edward's sev'n sons, whereof thyself art one,
RICHARD II.--Act I. Sc. 3.