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therefore an enthusiastic admirer of Shakspeare might with some plausibility affirm, the poet had chosen an expression in which that sound is not at all conveyed. In the very same page of Homer's Iliad we meet with two other striking instances of the same sort of beauty : Apollo, incensed at the insults his priest had sustained, descends from the top of Olympus, with his bow and quiver rattling on his shoulder as he moved along :
Many beauties of the same kind are scattered through Homer, Pindar, and Theocritus, such as the 3oučejora uéxicoa, susurrams apicula; the &3, Joglaua, dulcem susurrum ; and the usaladstai, for the sighing of the pine.
The Latin language teems with sounds adapted to every situation, and the English is not destitute of this significant energy. We have the cooing turtle, the sighing reed, the warbling rivulet, the sliding stream, the whispering breeze, the glance, the gleam, the flash, the bickering flame, the dashing wave, the gushing spring, the howling blast, the rattling storm, the pattering shower, the crimp earth, the mouldering tower, the twanging bowstring, the clanging arms, the clanking chains, the twinkling stars, the tinkling chords, the trickling drops, the twittering swallow, the cawing rook, the screeching owl; and a thousand other words and epithets, wonderfully suited to the sense they imply.
Among the select passages of poetry which we shall insert by way of illustration, the reader will find instances
of all the different tropes and figures which the best authors have adopted in the variety of their poetical works, as well as of the apostrophe, abrupt transition, repetition, and prosopopaeia.
In the mean time it will be necessary still farther to analyze those principles which constitute the essence of poetical merit; to display those delightful parterres that teem with the fairest flowers of imagination; and distinguish between the gaudy offspring of a cold insipid fancy, and the glowing progeny, diffusing sweets, produced and invigorated by the sun of genius.
ON THE USE OF METAPHORS.
Of all the implements of poetry, the Metaphor is the most generally and successfully used, and indeed may be termed the Muse's caduceus, by the power of which she enchants all nature. The metaphor is a shorter simile, or rather a kind of magical coat, by which the same idea assumes a thousand different appearances. Thus the word plough, which originally belongs to agriculture, being metaphorically used, represents the motion of a ship at sea, and the effects of old age upon the human counte
Almost every verb, noun substantive, or term of art in any language, may be in this manner applied to a variety of subjects with admirable effect; but the danger is in sowing metaphors too thick, so as to distract the imagination of the reader, and incur the imputation of deserting nature, in order to hunt after conceits. Every day produ
ces poems of all kinds so inflated with metaphor, that they
rhapsody.” The same observation will hold in poetry; and the more liberal or sparing use of them will depend in a great measure on the nature of the subject. Passion itself is very figurative, and often bursts out into metaphors; but in touching the pathos, the poet must be perfectly well acquainted with the emotions of the human soul, and carefully distinguish between those metaphors which rise glowing from the heart, and those cold conceits which are engendered in the fancy. Should one of these last unfortunately intervene, it will be apt to destroy the whole effect of the most pathetical incident or situation. Indeed, it requires the most delicate taste, and a consummate knowledge of propriety, to employ metaphors in such a manner as to avoid what the ancients call the to Juxpov, the frigid, or false sublime. Instances of this kind were frequent even among the correct ancients. Sappho herself is blamed for using the hyperbole asvuorépoi xiávos, whiter than snow. Demetrius is so nice as to be disgusted at the simile of swift as the wind; though in speaking of a race-horse, we know from experience that this is not even an hyperbole. He would have had more reason to censure that kind of metaphor which Aristotle styles war ivápyslav, exhibiting things inanimate as endued with sense and reason; such as that of the sharp-pointed arrow, eager to take wing among the crowd. O'évészó; mas' ouxov irizrtéadai usvealway. Not but that, in descriptive poetry, this figure is often allowed and admired. The cruel sword, the ruthless dagger, the ruffian blast, are epithets which frequently occur. The faithful bosom of the earth, the joyous boughs, the trees that admire their images reflected in the stream, and many other examples of this kind, are found disseminated through the works of our best modern poets: yet still they must be sheltered under the privilege of the poetica licentia; and, except in poetry, they would give offence.
More chaste metaphors are freely used in all kinds of writing ; more sparingly in history, and more abundantly in rhetoric : we have seen that Plato indulges in them even to excess. The orations of Demosthenes are animated and even inflamed with metaphors, some of them so bold as even to entail upon him the censure of the critics. Társ to IIvown t; ##top, #ort, waff ouijn–" Then I did not yield to Python the orator, when he overflowed you with a tide of eloquence.” Cicero is still more liberal in the use of them ; he ransacks all nature, and pours forth a redundancy of figures, even with a lavish hand. Even the chaste Xenophon, who generally illustrates his subject by way of simile, sometimes ventures to produce an expressive metaphor, such as, “part of the phalanx fluctuated in the march ;” and indeed nothing can be more significant than this word ičexianye, to represent a body of men staggered, and on the point of giving way. Armstrong has used the word fluctuate with admirable efficacy, in his philosophical poem, entitled, “The Art of Preserving Health.” “O when the growling winds contend, and all The sounding forest fluctuates in the storm, To sink in warm repose, and hear the din Howl o'er the steady battlements * >
The word fluctuate on this occasion not only exhibits an idea of struggling, but also echoes to the sense like the #ppičev 3; wax of Homer ; which, by the bye, it is impossible to render into English, for the verb egiaow signifies not only to stand erect like prickles, as a grove of lances, but also to make a noise like the crashing of armour, the hissing of javelins, and the splinters of spears.
Over and above an excess of figures, a young author is apt to run into a confusion of mixed metaphors, which leave the sense disjointed, and distract the imagination. Shakspeare himself is often guilty of these irregularities. The