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they ought to be discreetly used, and rather fparingly sprinkled, than fuperfluously lavished upon our difcourfes.
Mr POPE, in his Art of Sinking in Poetry, speaks of raising fo many images as to give you no image at all, and instances in the following lines:
The gaping clouds pour lakes of fulphur down,
"What a noble confusion!" adds that keen Writer: "Clouds, lakes, brimftone, flames, fun"beams, gaping, pouring, sick'ning, drowning! "all in two lines."
The obfervation of the fame Writer, as it may be considered as a direction to us, may well deserve a place in our remembrance:
'Tis more to guide than spur the mufe's steed,
§ 6. Tropes may be blameable for being too extravagant, and beyond the just allowances of nature and reason, and even of the indulgence that may be granted to the most bold and fiery genius. We must take heed when we are making use of Tropes, that they fwell not into án enormous and infufferable magnitude, and fo deserve the character of pompous and founding B4 trifles,
Art of Criticism, line 84.
trifles, instead of real and vivifying ornaments to
As all is darkness when the fancy's bad,
ARISTOTLE finds fault with EURIPIDES for faying of a mariner, "that he had the empire of the oar," as a falfe elevation, and too grand for the fubject. CICERO by no means approves that a drunken caroufal fhould be called a tempeft of riot t. LONGINUS has given us fome inftances of the extravagance of Tropes, in his juftly celebrated treatise on the Sublime: as when XERXES is called by GORGIAS the JUPITER of the Perfians; and when vultures that devour human flesh, are faid to be living fepulepres. The following lines, which LONGINUS quotes from fome unknown Author, are produced as a fpecimen of the bombast, or, in other words, of excefsive and preternatural Tropes and Metaphors. Boreas, or the north wind, is introduced as saying,
Let them reprefs their chimney-flames that fly
Το δε ως ο Τηλεφω. Ευριπίδες φησι, ལ Σώπας ανασσειν ότι μειζόν 66 To avaσσeiv,” n xal aşa. ARISTOTEL. Rhetor. lib iii. cap. 2. § 3.
+ Nolo effe majus, quam res poftulat, sempeftas comiffationis. CICERO, de Oratore, lib. iii. § 41.
Η Ταύτη και τα 18 Απόντινα Γοργία γελασαι γραφοντα, ε Ξέρξης ο των Περσων Ζευς," και, ο γύπες εμψύχοι ταφοι LONGIN, de Sublimitate, § 3.
For if one houfekeeper alone I fee,
And all his wealth in heaps of burning coals entomb. But O! I have not blown a jovial tune. "The curls of flame," Boreas being represented as a musician," together with the exprefsion, "of vomiting against Heaven," (which feems to have been used in some foregoing lines of this speech, though they are now loft) are cenfured by LoNGINUS as fupertragical *.
The fentiments which that Prince of Crities entertained of these extravagancies in language, well deferve our regard: "Such Writers as thefe, fays he, when they fancy themselves infpired, "mistake childish folly for divine enthusiafm. "This unnatural tumor, above all other faults "in writing, feems most difficult to be avoided; for all who would reach the Sublime, are driven, I know not how, by nature upon this "other extreme, to escape the imputation of languid and dry Writers; following the maxim, "That in great attempts it is glorious even to fall. But ftill all tumors, whether in the body
Οι τραγικά επι ταυία, άλλα παρατραγωδα, σε αν πλεκτάναι,ο
και το πρῶ. υρανον εξεμειν;” και το τον Βορέαν. " αυλή την LONGIN, de Sublimitate, § 3.
" or in composition, are diforders. They are
Tropes, fays HERMOGENES, are weighty and fublime; but there is no fmall danger in the ufe "of them, for the goodnefs of Tropes lies in their moderation; as when DEMOSTHENES fays, they exerted a good hope, whereas he could have faid "in plain language, they hoped for what is good. "How obfervable is it, fetting aside the Ora"tor's vehemence, that by the mediocrity of the "exprefsion, they exerted, that the Trope in a "manner escapes us? Tropes of this kind I "call moderate. But if Tropes exceed the com"mon measure, they give a rough caft to our
language; as when DEMOSTHENES fays, the «cities are fick; and therefore he faw the neces"sity of explaining himself, and accordingly "what he adds concerning the heads of their ci"ties being corrupted by bribes, and the other
things that follow, explain what he means by "the cities being fick. But if Tropes rife ftill higher,
Πολλαχε γας ενθεσίαν εαυίοις δοκενίες, ο βακχευεσιν, αλλα παιζεσιν. Ολως δ' έοικεν είναι το οἰδεῖν, ἐν τοῖς μαλιςα, δυσφυλακίοτατον φύσει γαρ απάνΊες οι μέγεθος εφιέμενοι, φεύ gioulες αθένειας και ξηρότητα καταΓνωσιν, ἐκ οίδ' όπως επι τεθ ̓ υποφερονται, πειθόμενοι του,
Μεγαλως απολιθάνειν ομως ευγενες αμαρτημά. Κακος δε οίκοι, και επί δωμάτων και λόγων, οι χαυνοι και αναληθείς, και μήτελε περιοχανίες ἡμᾶς τις γενανίον σε υδεν γὰρ φασί ξηρότερον υδρω
TIXY. LONGIN. de Sublimitate, § 3.
higher, they render our difcourfes hard, as may be inftanced in exprefsions of the fame i Orator; as, they are enervated --- be fells him-bé felf --- they peel their country. But when our Metaphors are wrought to a pitch beyond all “ this, our language becomes ftupid and con"temptible. You will meet with no example "of this kind in DEMOSTHENES, for indeed there " is none; but our blockish Rhetoricians abound "with them." What follows in HERMOGENES, may be considered as a ftroke of pleasant humour, or rather, if we may judge from the context, of the keeneft indignation ; “ for they (the * blockith Rhetoricians) call Vultures living fepulchres, in which they themselves well de66 ferve to be buried; and we might inftance in 66 many more fuch like frigid exprefsions which "are used by them *."
Και μην και αι τροπικαι λέξεις σεμνας και διογκωμέναι. ΚινδυνΘ- δε εν ταύταις ου μικρεσ περι την χρήσιν. Αι μὲν γὰρ μετρίως έχουσαι ποιουσι τον λόγον σεμνόν. Οιον, σε την αγάθη, προβαλλο μενες ελπιδα," αντι τ8, τα αγαθα ἐλπιζονίας. Ορας ότι δια το σφόδρα εχειν μετρίως το προβαλλομένους, υδε εμφαν νεται η τροπή; αι μετρίως μεν εν εχουσαι, τοιαύται εισιν. Ει
δε υπερβαιεν τι τα μετρια, τραχύνουσι τον λόγον. Οιον, 66 αι δε πόλεις ενόσουν.” Διό και εξηγήσεως άυτω εδέησε. Το γαρ των μεν εν τω πολιτεύεσθαι και προσπλειν δωροδοκουκλών, και τα εξής, σε εποχές έξιν εξηγητικά. Ει δε υπερβαιεν επί πλέον αν τροπαι, σκληρότερον ποιεσι του λόγου. Ωσπερ και το 8299νευρισμένοι,” και το, πεπρακώς εαυτον, και του σε λωποδυ τειν την ελλαδα.” Περαιτέρω δε τουτων ει προελθοιεν, και παχύτέρον και σχεδον ευτελέςερον αυτον ποιουσι.
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