Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Tropes, and their feveral kinds, that I think proper to annex to our Discourse concerning them a translation of his very fine verses upon our subject; and the Reader will excuse me, if along with them I translate some lines of our Author that belong not to the Tropes, but the Figures of Rhetoric, the last of which have not as yet been considered by us.

Observe how proper names afide are thrown,
And tropical inserted in their room.
Exotic words, adapted and apply'd
To things for which they were not firft defigned,
Adorn our subjects with a novel dress
Magnificently gay, nor would they with
To quit their foreign for their native garb.
Of battle, while the Bard fublimely fings..
His Tropes are borrow'd from devouring fames
Or the wild wasteful deluge surging high ;
Or if a conflagration he describes,
His Metaphors are snatch'd from fighting fields,
The rage and boundless devastation there:
When hostile hosts in fierce encounter join,
The battle shall be call'd a stormy fea;
Where in their boist'rous terrors, winds with winds
Contend, and waves in huge enormous ranks
Burst upon waves in infinite uproar.
Thus things are painted in a foreign form,
Reciprocally thus they lend their aid,
As they their dress alternately excbange.
Such beauties entertain the Reader's mind,
As from one subject he beholds a croud
Of instantaneous images arise.

So

So from fome neighb'ring hill, while we survey
The ocean's pure and peaceable expanfe,
And all below us spread the liquid plain,
We see, reflected in the watry gleam,
Pastures, and waving woods, and wander o'er
The floating picture with immenfe delight.
Thus should the Muse's Son adorn his verse
With images in rich variety,
Secure th'attention, bear th'enraptur'd mind,
Now here, now there, in his refiftlefs fong.
The Bard too from this fource derives his pow'rs
T'irradiate, and exalt to dignity
A subject mean and trivial in itself;
And, if the proper words are found too few,
Enriching Tropes will their defects supply.
This liberty is not enjoy'd alone
By

Poets : others will the indulgence claim,
And mof the Orators, whose eloquence
Would rouse the sleeping thunders of the law
Against delinquents, or would kindly save
Their friends from the devouring jaws of death
Into the joys of freedom and the day.
Nay, even the countryman's untutor'd stile
Abounds with Tropes- See what a joyful crop!
The vine is hung with gems--The thirsty fields
Drink the refreshing Show'rs—The valleys smile
With rising harvests — Poverty of speech
Produc'd these Tropes; for when no words occur,
Appointed for the things we would describe,
Tis natural to have recourse to names
Appropriated to express the things
That most resemble them. But by degrees,
As civilizing arts and choice prevail'd,
Tropes, by necessity first introduc'd,

Ware

Were for the pleasures they inspir'd preferr’d,
And the rich lustres they on language fhed.
Thus the inclemency of boist'rous winds
And fierce descending rains compellid mankind
To rear rude tenements of mud and straw;
But what neceffity first dictated
Soon grew to elegance. The dome august
On Parian columns rose, and burnish'd brass
Sustain'd the tow'ring roof; while regal pomp
And regal luxury reign'd all within,
And the poor hut was for the palace chang’d.
But still the privilege of framing Tropes
Is not indulg'd in such a large extent
To other artists as to tuneful Bards.
They by the rigid laws of verse are bound
To scanty measures and unvarying feet,
While others in a wide unbounded field
Expatiate unconfin'd. How fit, how juft, is
That Poets then should be allow'd t'adorn -
With bolder colours and a richer dress :
Their works, nor blush to find their art disclos'd :

Ofttimes the Bard delights to raise his song Up to a pitch surpassing all belief *. 46 The shout afcends the skies. All heav'n around « Shakes with th' unsufferable noise." Anon How he repeats his words, that execrate Ravage and havock and the plagues of war.t? 4. O father! O my country! O the house “ Of, PRIAM once so great! O Jupiter ! “ Imperial Troy is fmoking on the ground.”

Neptune fhall sometimes signify the main 1, And BACCHUS wine, and CERES corn intend :

The • The Hyperbole.

# An Ecphonejos. | The Synecdoche.

The father thall denominate his race,
And cities their inhabitants design,
When Africans with consternation shake,
Their country trembles to its utmost bounds,
Give me a cup of Achelous' streams,
And gen'rous wine compos’d--What mean the streams
But water, from whatever fount it flows ?

Poets will by a change of speech address
Themselves to absent persons *, speak to cayes,
To deferts, mountains, rivers, fields, and woods,
As they with fenfe and reason were endow'd,
And could return an answer to their call.

Sometimes a Bard profuse fhall pour his praise In words, while he a sense reverse intends t. 66 She doubtless was a most deferving wife , “ Who, when his foes were rushing thro' his doors, « Drew from her husband's head his faithful sword.” “ O to what heights of fame has Drances | foar'd! “ How has he strew'd the fields with heaps of Hain “ And, see the trophies which his valour gain'd!

What a rich pleasure oft pervades the mind, When, but from no deficiency of speech, The self-fame words are by the fong return'a ? * Should Pan, tho'ARCADY was judge, contend; is Ev’n Pan, tho’ARCADY was judge, must yield S.” But theo a Poet

may

have leave to soar
In bold excursions on his wing of fire,
Let him be caution'd in his use of Tropes
Not to exceed all bounds, and croud his verfe
With what are scarce related to his theme.
By harshness some most shamefully offend,

And

• The Apostrophe.
I HELEN.
Ś The Epanaphora.

+ The Irony.
| A coward in VIRGIL.

And snatch, in nature's and in reason's spite,
From things their native forms, and make them wear,
Howe'er reluctant, an extraneous dress.
Alike ridiculous as he who clothes
A ftripling in a giant's coat of mail,
Is he who calls a stable or a fty
The Lares or of horses or of swine,
Or ftiles the spires of grafs that deck the meads
The hairs with which our mother Earth is crown'd.

Once more ; be not too lavish of your Tropes:
Redundance is disgust. Oft stoop your wing,
And condescend to language unadorn’d,
If worthy of the subject, and the song *.

Nonne vides, verbis ut veris sæpe relictis
Accersant fimalata, aliundeque nomina porrò
Transportent, aptentque aliis ea rebus ; ut ipfæ,
Exuviasque novas, res, infolitosque colores

Indòtæ, fæpe externi mirentur amictus
- Unde illi, lætæque aliena lace fruantur,

Matatoque habitu, nec jam sua nomina mallent ?
Sæpe ideo, cum bella canunt, incendia credas
Cernere, diluviumque ingens furgentibus undis,
Contra etiam Martis pugnas imitabitur ignis,
Cum funt accerfis acies Vulcania campis.
Nec turbato oritur quondam minor æquore pugna:
Configunt animosi euri certamine valto
Inter res pugnantque adversis mollibus undæ.
Ufque adeo paflim fua res insignia lætæ
Permutantque, juvantque vicislim ; & mutua sese
Altera in alterius transformat protinus ora.
Tum fpecie capti gaudent fpectare legentes:
Nam diversa fimul datur è se cernere eadem
Multarum fimulacra animo subeuntia rerum.
Ceu cum fortè olim placidi liquidiffima Ponti
Aquora vicina spectat de rupe viator,
Tantùm illi subjecta oculis eft mobilis unda;

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »