« PreviousContinue »
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light *
$ 5. The Climax, as it connects and dwells upon our ideas, may be the more likely to make the stronger impression upon the minds of our hearers. But let it (I mean the strict and regular Climax ) be used sparingly; and that for the very good reason which QUINTILIAN assigns, “ because the art in forming it is so open « and obvious [.”
It * It was a notion of the great Mr Huygens, that there might be fixed stars at such a distance from our solar system, as that their light should not have had time to reach us, even from the creation of the world to this day. + Pleasures of Imagination, book i. line 183.
I Gradatio, quæ dicitur xaopat, apertiorem habet artem.. ideoque esse rarior debet. QUINTIL.. lib. ix, cap. 3. § 2.
It may not be improper to observe, that we should strictly guard against every thing that has the least tendency to an Anti-Climax, or the diminution, instead of the improvement of our ideas, as they are following one another in the orderly succession which has been described.
I own that in the noble poem of Mr WALLER'S upon the death of the famous Cromwell, there is something like an Anti-Climex, that disgusts me in the words, part of Flanders, as they come in the rear of some very strong and magnificent ideas.
Our dying hero from the continent
What a want of beauty may be observed in a stanza in Dr Watts's Imitation of the 84th Pfalm, evidently owing to an Anti-Climax ? · LORD, at thy threshold I would wait,
While Jesus is within, Rather than fill a chrone of state,
Or live in tents of fin.
How much better had the stanza run, if the Author had thus formed it?
LORD, while my Saviour is within,
I'll at thy threshold wait,
Or fill a throne of state. And it is observable that the Doctor, in his version of the Psalm, in a different metre, has preserved the Climax ;
Might I enjoy the meanest place
Let me add a passage of Mr ADDISON'S to our purpose. “ I will conclude this head, says 66 he, with taking notice of a certain Figure,
66 which was unknown to the ancients, and in .66 which this Letter-writer very much excels.
« This is called by some an Anti-Climax; an incc stance of which we have in the roth page, « where he tells us, That Britain may expeet to “ have this. only glory left ber; that he has
proved a farm to the Bank, a province to Hol« land, and a jest to the whole world. I never « met with so fudden à downfal in fo promis« ing a sentence. A jest to the whole world,
gives fuch an unexpected turn to this happy period, that I was heartily troubled and sur
prised to meet with it. I do not remember “ in all my reading to have observed more than 6 two couplets of verses that have been written « in this Figure: the first are thus quoted by « Mr DRYDEN,
, 275 Not only London echoes with thy fame, But allo Islington has heard the fame. The other are in French,
Allez vous, luy dit il; fans bruit chez vos parens
* But we need go no further than the letter beis fore us for examples of this nature, as we " may find in page the eleventh: Mankind rea “ mains convinced that a Queen, pofteled of all the “ virtues requisite to bless a nation, or make a pri« vate family happy, sits on the throne. Is this co panegyric or burlesque ? To see fo glorious " a Queen celebrated in such a manner gives
every good subject a secret indignation, and i looks like SCARRON's character of the great « Queen SEMIRAMIS ; who, says that Author, was “ the founder of Babylon, conqueror of the East, « and an excellent housewife * "..
Addison's Whig-Examiner, No 2. See his Miscellaneous Weriks, vol. ü. p. 300. O&avo edition.
$ 1. Its definition. $2. Examples from Orpheus,
Aratus, CATULLUS, Milton, Watts, and - BURNET. $ 3. Two instances of this Figure
from HORACE and CASIMIRE, in their descriptions of a country life. § 4. Examples from Scripture. $ 5. QUINTILIAN's sentiments upon the Hypotyposis. $ 6. Direétions concerning the use of this Figure..
$1. L ypotyposis * is a Figure, by which we
· give such a distinct and lively representation of what we have occasion to describe, as furnishes our hearers with a particular, fatisfactory, and complete knowledge of our subject.
§ 2. A vast variety of instances of the Hypotypolis might be produced from ancient and modern Writers; but that I may neither, on the one hand, indulge to an extravagant and needless profusion, nor, on the other, be wanting in the recital of examples of a Figure so animated and
* From UTOTUTOW, I delineate, or represent.