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ages and metaphorical figures of the poets. Though allegories and metaphors are justly styled the lights of compo. sition, yet, without extreme circumspection in the use of them, writers are wont to confound their imaginary conceptions with real circumstances, and to introduce ideas not congruous to each other. Even Virgil is not without fault on this account, as the following lines will shew :
Jamque volans apicem et latera ardua cernit Atlantis duri, cælum qui vertice fulcit ; Atlantis, cinctum assidue cai nubibus atris Piniferum caput et vento pulsatur et imbri; Nix humeros infusa tegit ; tum FLUMINA MENTO Præcipitant senis.
VIRG. Æn. iv. 246. From the whole of this passage we are to conceive ATLAS 2 person ; but if so, how can rivers flow from his chin? What should we think of his taste, who should form a moun. tain statue in imitation of the Farnese Atlas, and contrive to make real water run out of its chin? Thus, by a failure of Judgment in one circumstance, a description, in other respects noble, loses much of its beauty.
In the representation which Horáce gives of the river TIBER, B. 1. Od. ï. we see the same confusion of imaginary personage and literal circumstance:
Iliæ dum se nimium querenti
Uxorius Amnis. Here, in the same passage, TIBER is introduced as an avenging deity, and as an overflowing river. If the Tiber be a deity, then how could he overflow? but if a river, how could be console Ilia by threatening vengeance on the murderers of Julius Cæsar? It will be no excuse to plead that Homer has taken the same unwarrantable liberty in the twenty-first book of the Iliad. SCAMANDER there expostulates with ACHILLES, appearing ang naaperos; and yet presently we find him supplanting the bero, iwaiba gown, by flowing on under his feet." The speaking god and Howing river are here confounded together; and it must be acknowledge ed that in this allegorical fiction “ Dormitat Homerus."
By a single word has HORACE debased an allegory, othere wise poetical and bold. He promises himself immortality, and, under the figure of a swan, says, in a strain very animated,
Jam Dædaleo ocyor Icaro
ALES, Hyperboreosque campos :
DISCET Iber, Rhodanique potor. Not to enlarge on the frigidity of DISCET, we must observe at once how incongruous it is with what precedes. If the poet is transformed into a CANORUS ALES, how can he apply the word DISCET, or the epithet PERITUS, to the Iberian?. The image of a bird being once adopted, should have been pursued throughout; whereas, after beginning with the flight of a bird, the poet ends with the reading of his works.
When such writers as HOMER, VIRGIL, and HORACE, have not always been sufficiently guarded in delineating allegorical figures, we are not surprised to find Ovid vicious in, the same particular. “Ovidius lascivire in Metamorphosi solet”-“nimium amator ingenii sui; laudandus tamen in partibus-præstare potuerit, si ingenio suo temperare, quam indulgere, maluisset.” Quinctil.
The writings of Ovid shew evident marks of luxuriant imagination, but no signs of subact judgment. These alone abundantly prove the propriety of the Horatian maxims we are endeavouring to reconcile. A true poet must possess not only genius but sound sense also. We need but look into Ovid's description of Tellus, Metam. Book II. Fab. I. to be convinced how little capable he was of avoiding incongruities. The allegorical figure Tellus is introduced as complaining to Jupiter of the conflagration occasioned by Phaëton :
Tostos en aspice crines, Inque oculis tantum, tantum super ora favillæ. Here is a person with hair burnt, and face covered with burning embers, who thus proceeds,
Hosne mihi fructus, hunc fertilitatis honorem
Officiique refers ? Thus far all is consistent; but now comes the literal circumstance:
quod adunci vulnera aratri Rastrorumque féro Here is the confusion of a complaining goddess and the
earthy sod blended together: a goddess could not bear the “vulnera aratri;" the earthy sod could not have “tostos crines” and “tantum super ora favillæ," or make complaint to Jupiter
It is well observed by Lord HALIFAX on DRYDEN'S “ Hind and Panther," that in carrying on this allegory "it should always be a church, or always a cloven-footed beast; for we cannot bear his shifting the scene every line.” It was an unpardonable absurdity to speak of the church as feeding on lawns, or of a panther as reading the Bible. The images with their appropriated attributes should ever be kept distinct; and in a composition of considerable length it is extraordinary that DRYDEN should not perceive the incongruity of ideas which had been brought together. It is easy to be conceived, that where a poet by the force of imagination is hurried away to express a sublime thought, he may not immediately discover that he has violated simplicity, which is more severe than to bear conceit or puerility; for this reason,
Vidæ A. P. iji. 494. The lovers of GRAY (and such must all be who can feel the power of vigorous and animated poetry) have regretted his admission of the real and figurative thought, which this stanza contains :
Nor second He, that rode sublime
GRAY's Prog. of Poesy. The former part of this stanza is highly poetical, being strongly imagined and forcibly expressed. But the impuţing of Milton's real blindness to his ecstatic view of celestial objects is a vicious mixture of fiction and truth, and too much like an Ovidian conceit. The passage cited from Homer, by Gray himself, is no vindication of this unnatural sentiment: the Muse is said by Homer to have deprived Demodocus of sight, and to have given him the art of minstrelsy in recompence:
διδε δ' αγαθον τε, κακον τε,
Hom. Od. viii. 63. In this there is no antithesis, because no opposition between seeing and singing.
As in the allegory, so in the metaphor should be observed the Horatian precepts, "Denique sit quidvis simplex, duntaxat et unum," and “Servetur ad imum qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.” The idea; which has been adopted in order to illustrate a subject, should be uniformly pursued; and the terms applied to it should be suitable. Yet even Milton is not always on his guard in appropriating his language to the first-conceived image ; for instance, in these lines :
As one whose DROUTH
Par. L. vii. 66. The application of EYES to DROUTH is improper. * SOPHOCLES indeed has γηρυς λαμπει, and έλαμψε φανεισα φαμα, in his (Ed. Tyr. 1964-481. ÆSCHYLUS also has xlumov dedogue, v. 103. Sept. ady. Theb.; in both which passages the sense of seeing is applied for that of hearing. But as both these senses are external, the exchange of one for the other is not so violent; DROUTH is an internal sensation, and on no account can properly be said to EYE the passing stream.
POPE, though the poet of REASON more than of IMAGINATION, with all his cold correctness, falls into confusion of metaphors. Thus, in the following line, In Folly's cup still laughs the bubble, Joy..
Essay on Man, ii. 288. “Folly's cup," taken by itselfis poetical; "laughs the bubble," in allusion to the common expression of sparkling wine, is also poetical. But what means “the bubble Joy laughs in Folly's cup?" Joy is there made a person or passion, and a bubble at the same time.
Another instance may be adduced from the “Essay on Criticism.” The Poet speaks to Walsh:
* Does not the verb eyes refer to one instead of drouth? E.
The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing,
Ver. 735. The PRUNING of a wing is a term inapplicable, and introduces an idea foreign to the purpose.
Poets have indeed a world, sentiments, and language peculiar to themselves. They must give body and attributes to beings of their own creation, personifying natural, moral, intellectual objects. Thus far it is true, that “ Pictoribus atque poetis quidlibet audendi semper fuit æqua potestas."But good sense requires that this power of linagination, either in poetry or painting, should not combine absurdities or connect incoherences. Genius and Judgment should never be separated; their union will produce simplicity and propriety amidst the most sublime conceptions of fancy: their separation may occasion, if not the extravagances of an ARIOSTO, or such violations of the Costume as are notorious in the paintings of Rubens and TINTORET, yet such errors
as will not bear the examination of sound criticism. 1787, Nov.
C. BOURN, whence probably derived.
“Gang down the burn, Davy love,
" And I will follow thee." All towns and villages, the names of which end in bouin, are situated near water. I could instance many, by rivers of different names.
I therefore believe bourn to be a contraction of by-eau-run, i. e. by the water-course. The same bay be said of places ending in ern, as Tintern, Malvern, Mintern, &c. which may also be derived from eau-run.-Exage, in our old writers, is the toll of a water passage; the word is derived from the French, eau: and wer is a water-vessel. For both these words see Chambers's Dictionary. Numberless examples may be cited, in which, by contraction, rapid pronunciation, and consequent amis-spel