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where the object of the writer is merely to attain the merits of perspicuity and simplicity. In cases of this last description, the considerations which have been already stated lead me to conclude, that the general rules which reprobate mixed metaphors ought to be interpreted with a greater degree of latitude than critics are accustomed to allow. I have heard, for example, the phrase fertile source censured more than once as a trespass against these rules. I think I may venture to appeal to a great majority of my readers, whether this impropriety ever occurred to them, when they have met with the phrase, as they often must have done, in the best English authors; nay, whether this phrase does not strike their ear as a more natural and obvious com. bination than copious source, which some would substitute instead of it. Why, then, should we reject a convenient expression, which custom has already sanctioned; and, by tying ourselves down, in this instance, to the exclusive employment of the adjective copious, impoverish the scanty resources which the English idiom affords for diversifying our phraseology 2" On the same principle, I would vindicate such phrases as the following;-to dwell, or to enlarge, on a particular point; or on a parficular head of a discourse ; or on a particular branch of an argument. Nor do I see any criticism to which they are liable, which would not justify the vulgar cavil against golden candlestick, and glass inkhorn ;-expressions which it is impossible to dispense with, but by means of absurd circumlocutions. In these last cases, indeed, the etymology of the words leads the attention back to the history of the arts, rather than to that of the metaphorical uses of speech ; but in both instances the same remark holds, that when a writer, or a speaker, wishes to express himself plainly and perspicuously, it is childish in him to reject phrases which custom has consecrated, on account of the inconsistencies which a philological analysis may point out between their primitive import and their popular acceptations. In the practical application, I acknowledge, of this
* If there be any one English word, which is now become virtually literal, in its metaphorical applications, it is the word source. Who ever thinks of a spring or fountain of water, in speaking of God as the source of existence; of the sun as the source of light and heat; of land as one of the sources of national wealth; or of sensation and reflection, as the only sources (according to Locke) of human knowledge;—propositions which it would not be easy to enunciate with equal clearness and conciseness in any other manner? The same observation may be extended to the adjective fertile ; which we apply indiscriminately to a produce tive field; to an inventive genius ; and even to the mines which supply us with the precious metals. I cannot, therefore, see the shadow of a reason why these two words should not be joined together in the most correct composition. A similar combination has obtained in the French language, in which the phrase source jéconde has been long sanctioned by the highest authorities. It is necessary for me to observe here, that I introduce this, and other examples of the same kind, merely as illustrations of my meaning; and that it is of no consequence to the argument, whether my decisions, in particular cases, be right or wrong.
general conclusion, it requires a nice tact, aided by a familiar acquaintance with the best models, to be able to decide, when a metaphorical word comes to
have the effect of a literal and specific term;-or (what amounts to the same thing) when it ceases to present its primitive along with its figurative meaning: And whenever the point is at all doubtful, it is unquestionably safer to pay too much, than too little respect, to the common canons of verbal criticism. All that I wish to establish is, that these canons, if adopted without limitations and exceptions, would produce a style of composition different from what has been exemplified by the classical authors, either of ancient or of modern times; and which no writer or speaker could attempt to sustahm, without feeling himself perpetually cramped by fetters, inconsistent with the freedom, the variety, and the grace of his expression.” If these remarks have any foundation in truth, when applied to questions which fall under the cognizance of illiterate judges, they conclude with infinitely greater force in favour of established practice, when opposed merely by such arcana as have been brought to light by the researches of the scholar or the antiquary. Considering, indeed, the metaphorical origin of by far the greater proportion of words in every cultivated language (a fact which Mr Tooke's ingenious speculations have now placed in a point of view so peculiarly luminous), etymology, if systematically adopted as a test of propriety, would lead to the rejection of all our ordinary modes of speaking; without leaving us the possibility of communicating to each other our thoughts and feelings in a manner not equally liable to the same objections.
* The following maxim does honour to the good sense and good taste of Waugelas —“Lorsau’une façon de parler est usitée “des bons auteurs, il ne faut pas s'amuser a en faire l'anatomie, “ni à pointiller dessus, comme font une infinité de gens; mais “il faut se laisser emporter au torrent, et parler comme les au“tres, sans daigner écouter ces éplucheurs de phrases."
In the volume which I have already published on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, when I have had occasion to speak of the Pleasures of Imagination, I have employed that phrase to denote the pleasures which arise from ideal creations or combinations, in contradistinction to those derived from the realities which human life presents to our senses. Mr Addison, in his well-known and justly admired papers on this subject, uses the same words in a more extensive acceptation; to express the pleasures which Beauty, Greatness, or Novelty, excite in the mind, when presented to it, either by the powers of Perception, or by the faculty of Imagination; distinguishing these two classes of agreeable effects, by calling the one primary, and the other secondary