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the bottom of a ditch, and make a great noise whenever they thrust their heads above water. E. W. I. M. Esq, T. D. Gent.
8. The Eels are obscure authors, that wrap themselves up in their own mud, but are mighty nimble and pert. L. W. L. T. P. M. General C.
The Tortoises are flow and chill, and, like pastoral writers, delight much in gardens : they have for the most part a fine embroidered shell, and underneath it, a heavy lump. A. P. W. B. L. E. The Right Hon. E. of S.
These are the chief Characteristicks of the Bathos : and in each of these kinds we have the comfort to be blessed with sundry and manifold choice Spirits in this our island,
Of the Profund, when it consists in the Thought.
WE have already laid down the Principles upon which
our author is to proceed, and the manner of forming his Thought by familiarizing his mind to the lowest objects; to which it may be added, that Vulgar conversation will greatly contribute. There is no question but the Garret or the Printer's boy may often be discerned in the compositions made in such scenes and company; and much of Mr. Curl himself has been insenfibly infused into the works of his learned writers.
The Physician, by the study and inspection of urinę and ordure, approves himself in the science; and in like fort should our author accuftom and exercise his imagination upon the dregs of nature.
This will render his thoughts truly and fundamentally low, and carry him many fathoms beyond Mediocrity.
For, certain it is (though some lukewarm heads imagine. they may be safe by temporizing between the extremes) that where there is not a Triticalness or Mediocrity in the Thought, it can never be sunk into the genuine and perfe&t Bathos, by the most elaborate low Expression. It can, at moft, be only carefully obscured, or metaphotically debased. But'tis the Thought alone that strikes, and gives the whole that spirit, which we admire and ftare at. For inftance, in that ingenious piece on a lady's drinking the Bath-waters :
* “ She drinks! She drinks ! Behold the matchless dame!
" To her 'tis water, but to us 'tis flame : . Thus fire is water, water fire by turns, " And the same stream at once both cools and burns.”
What can be more easy and unaffected than the Diction of these verses ? 'Tis the Turn of Thought alone, and the Variety of Imagination, that charm and surprise us. And when the same lady goes into the Bath, the Thought (as in justnefs it ought) goes still deeper.
# " Venus beheld her, 'midst her crowd of slaves,
And thought herself just risen from the waves."
How much out of the way of common sense is this reflection of Venus, not knowing herself from the lady?
Of the same nature is that noble mistake of a frighted ftag in a full chace, who (faith the Poet)
« Hears his own feet, and thinks they sound like more ; " And fears the hind feet will o'ertake the fore."
So astonishing as these are, they yield to the following, which Profundity itself ;
« None but himself can be his Parallel."
$ Theobald, Double Fallhood.
Unless it may seem borrowed from the Thought of that Master of a Show in Smithfield, who writ in large letters, over the picture of his elephant,
" This is the greatest Elephant in the world, except
However, our next instance is certainly an original : Speaking of a beautiful infant, “ So fair thou art, that if great Cupid be " A child, as Poets say, fure thou art he. 66 Fair Venus would mistake thee for her own, “ Did not thy eyes proclaim thee not her son. “ There all the lightnings of thy Mother's shine, " And with a fatal brightness kill in thine."
First he is Cupid, then he is not Cupid ; first Venus would mistake him, then she would not mistake him; next his Eyes are his Mother's, and lastly they are not his Mother's, but his own.
Another author, describing a Poet that shines forth amidst a circle of Criticks,
“ Thus Phoebus thro' the Zodiac takes his way, “. And amid Monsters rises into day,"
What a peculiarity is here of invention? The Author's pencil, like the wand of Circe, turns all into monsters at a stroke. A great Genius takes things in the lump, without stopping at minute considerations : In vain might the ram, the bull, the goat, the lion, thecrab, the scorpion, the fishes, all stand in his way, as mere natural animals : much more might it be pleaded that a pair of scales, an old man, and two innocent children, were no monsters : There were only the Centaur and the Maid that could be esteemed out of nature. But what of that? with a bokiness peculiar to these daring geniuses, what he found not monsters, he made so. VOL. III.
CHA P. VIII.
Of the Profund, consisting in the Circumstances, and of
Amplification and Periphrase in general. WHAT
HAT in a great measure distinguishes other writers
from ours, is their choosing and separating fuch circumstances in a discription as ennoble or elevate the subject.
The circumstances which are most natural are obvious, therefore not astonishing or peculiar. But those that are far-fetched, or unexpected, or hardly compatible, will surprise prodigiously. These therefore we must principally hunt out ; but, above all, preferve a laudable Pro. lixity ; presenting the whole and every fide at once of the image to view. For choice and diftinction are not only a curb to the spirit, and limit the descriptive faculty, but also lessen the book ; which is frequently of the worst consequence of all to our author.
When Job says in short, “He washed his feet in but“ ter," (a circunstance some poets would have softened, or passed over) now hear how this butter is spread out hy the great Genius.
* " With teats diftended with their milky store,
“: Such num'rous lowing heards, before my door, " Their painful burden to unload did meet, “ That we with butter might have wash'd our feet."
How cautious! and particular! He had (says our author) so many herds, which herds thrived so well, and thriving so well gave so much milk, and that milk produced so much butter, that, if he did not, he might have washed his feet in it.
Blackm. Job, p. 33
The ensuing description of Hell is no less remarkable in the circumstances:
+ “ In flaming heaps the raging ocean rolls,
* Whose livid waves involve despairing souls ;
Could the moft minute Dutch-painters have been more exa&t? How inimitably circumftantial is this also of a war-horse !
“ His eye-balls burn, he wounds the smoaking plain, “ And knots of scarlet ribband deck his mane."
Of certain Cudgel-players: $ “ They brandish high in air their threatning ftaves,
« Their hands a woven guard of ozier faves, " In which they fix their hazle weapon's endo”
Who would not think the Poet had paft his whole life at Wakes in such laudable diversions ? fince he teaches. us how to hold, nay how to make a Cudgel !
Periphrafe is another great aid to Prolixity; being a diffused circumlocutory manner of expressing a known idea, which should be so mysteriously couched, as to give the reader the pleasure of guessing what it is that the author can posfibly mean, and a strange furprise when he finds it.
The poet I last mentioned is incomparable in this figure.
“ A waving sea of heads was round me spread,