Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]

“their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is "referved the blackness of darkness for ever, By. "how much, adds Mr SMITH, the bold defence "of Chriftianity against the leud practices,


infatiable lufts, and impious blafphemies of, "wicked and abandoned men, is more glorious than the defence of a petty State against the intrigues of a foreign Tyrant; or by how much more honourable and praise-worthy it is "to contend for the glory of GoD and Religion, than the reputation of one Republic; by fo "much does this passage of the Apostle exceed

that of DEMOSTHENES, Commended by LoN"GINUS for force of exprefsion, liveliness of al«lusion, and height of fublimity."

Such are the liberties we may take within the bounds allotted us, or without a reproach upon our Metaphors as inconsistent. Each one of the characters of thofe wicked men whom St JUDE defcribes may be considered as composing a diftinct fentence. The fenfe is the fame as if the Apostle had faid, They are fpots in your feafts of charity -- They are clouds without water -- They are trees without fruit, &c. and confequently, as there is an harmony of Metaphor in the fame fentence, there is all that Rhetoric demands. The difcordancy of images, which we should ever guard against, would have taken place, if the men that were faid to be trees without fruit, were declared as fuch to be foaming out their own fhame; or if they who were defcribed as raging waves of the fea,were in the fame connexion faid to be without fruit, plucked up by the


roots. But this is not the cafe. Every frefh character, though of the fame perfons, makes a complete fentence, and that fentence is conftituted of consistent images. The facred indignation of the Apostle blazes out and ceases, blazes out and ceases again, till he has finished his account of those most profligate wretches whose characters he was reprefenting. How different is all this from that jumble of Metaphors which the Spectator fo humorously describes, when he fays, "that an unfkilful Author "shall run Metaphors fo abfurdly into one ano"ther, that there fhall be no simile, no agree"able picture, no apt refemblance, but confu"sion, obfcurity, and noise! Thus have I known "an Hero compared to a Thunderbolt, a Lion, ❝ and the Sea; all and each of them proper Me"taphors for Impetuosity, Courage, or Force : "but by bad management it hath so happened, "that the Thunderbolt hath overflowed its banks, "the Lion hath darted through the skies, and "the Billows have rolled out of the Libyan de"fert t."

$11. As the best help that I know of to direct us in the management of Metaphors, and to keep us clear of the rocks upon which others have split, take the following passage from the Spectator. "An image, fays the ingenious Writer, taken from what acts upon the sight, cannot " without


+ Spectator, N° 595.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

" without violence be applied to the hearing, "and fo of the reft. It is no lefs an impropriety "to make any being in nature or art to do any thing in its metaphorical state, which it can"not do in its original. I fhall illuftrate what "I have faid by an instance, which I have read "more than once in controversial Writers. The heavy lashes, fays a celebrated Writer, that "have dropped from your pen, &c. I fuppofe this gentleman, having frequently heard of gall dropping from a pen, and being lafhed in a fatire, " he was refolved to have them both at any "rate, and fo uttered this complete piece of "nonfenfe. It will moft effectually discover the "abfurdity of these monstrous unions, if we "will fuppose these Metaphors or images ac"tually painted. Imagine then an hand hold"ing a pen, and feveral lashes of whip-cord "falling from it, and you have the true repre"sentation of this fort of Eloquence. I believe by this very rule, a Reader may be able to



judge of the union of all Metaphors what"ever, and determine which are homogeneous, "and which are heterogeneous, or, to speak "more plainly, which are consistent, and which "inconsistent *."

We should ever consider this difcordancy of Metaphors, this chaos, instead of a regular fymmetry, and beautiful arrangerment of ideas, as : one of the moft intolerable faults of composition, next to our blunders in Syntax; and we may

Spectator, N° 595.


well apply to fuch a gallimaufry of Tropes what

HORACE fays:

Should a wild Painter with an human head

Connect an horfe's neck, and cover o'er

A jarring heap of limbs with various plumes.
From diff'rent birds, and end the motley piece,
That open'd with a virgin's bloom of charms,
With the foul volumes of a fifhes tail,
Could you reftrain your laughter at the fight?

Believe me, friends, that Poem's just the same,
Where monftrous images, like fick mens dreams,
Are wildly huddled; and thro' all the work,
No order, no coherence can be found.

'Tis true, the Painter and the heav'n-born Muse
May boldly deviate from the common track:
We grant and take the privilege by turns.
But mix not favage natures with the mild;
Let not the Serpent with the Eagle join,
Nor match the furious Tiger with the Lamb ‡.

D 2

Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Jungere fi velit, & varias inducere plumas
Undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum
Definat in pifcem mulier formofa supernè;
Spectatum admiffi rifum teneatis amici ?
Credite, Pifones, isti tabulæ fore librum
Perfimilem, cujus, velut ægri somnia, vanæ
Fingentur fpecies: ut nec pes nec caput uni
Reddatur formæ. Pictoribus atque poetis
Quidlibet audendi femper fuit æqua poteftas.


Scimus, & hanc veniam petimusque damufque viciffim:
Sed non ut placidis coeant immitia, not ut
Serpentes avibus geminentur, tigribus agni.

HORAT, de Arte Poetica, ab initio.

§ 12. To excite us to take the greatest care of our Metaphors, and bring them to the test of nature, and not to the authority of even the best Writers, who in fome inftances may have failed in this particular; and at the fame time to keep our minds from defpondency, if we should, after all our pains and caution, fometimes detect ourfelves in a false Metaphor; I fhall point out fome errors of this kind, even among Authors of the first reputation. You may find the following lines in one of Dr DODDRIDGE'S Hymns:

Fann'd by thy breath whole fheets of flame
Do like a deluge pour,

And all our confidence of wealth

Lies buried in an hour *.

Sheets fanned, and feets pouring like a deluge, appear not to me very proper expressions for metaphorical association.

The fame Writer, in his improvement of Rom. xii. 18--20. in the last of which verses the Apostle advises, if our enemy hunger, to feed him, and if he thirst, to give him drink, for in fo doing we fhall heap coals of fire upon his head, fpeaks of a kindly obftinate attachment to peace, an heroic fuperiority of foul,which melts down with kindness that heart which but a little before was glowing with rage. I think the Metaphor would have been more clearly uniform, or more agreeable, if it had been faid, which melts down with kindness that heart which before was cold as to all fenfations

Hymn cliv. page 137.

« PoprzedniaDalej »