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responds with its real properties or circumftances.

ANOTHER mistake in the ufe of this figure is, when different images are crouded too close upon each other, or (to express myself after Quintilian) when a sentence sets out with ftorms and tempefts, and ends with fire and flames. A judicious reader will observe an impropriety of this kind in one of the effays of the inimitable author laft quoted, where he tells us," that "women were formed to temper mankind, "not to fet an edge upon their minds, and

general currency, that is not founded in an obvious and striking fimilitude: for it is this fimiltude alone, it should feem, that could render it popular. Thus there is an evident reason why that method of ingrafting which is performed by inferting a bud into a stock, fhould be called inoculation; as the bud fo inserted bears fome resemblance to the eye of certain animals: but it bears none to the idea of light in any of its qualities or effects. If Cicero therefore ufed illuminatam, to exprefs the fame idea as inoculatam, it must be by a fort of figure peculiar to himself, and to which Rhetoric has not yet given a name; nor I fuppofe ever will: for no judicious writer, I imagine, will venture to follow him in fo extravagant a license. Upon the whole, it seems more reasonable to fay that Cicero in the paffage under confideration, has inadvertently jumbled together incongruous ideas; than to fuppofe, either that He could have been the author of fo unnatural a metaphor, or that it had before been adopted by common language. "blow

I 3

"blow up in them those paffions which are "too apt to rife of their own accord." Thus a celebrated orator, fpeaking of that little blackening fpirit in mankind, which is fond of discovering spots in the brightest characters, remarks, that when persons of this caft of temper have mentioned any virtue of their neighbor," it is well, if to ba"lance the matter they do not clap fome "fault into the oppofite fcale, that fo the

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enemy may not go off with flying colors." Dr. Swift also, whose style is the most pure and fimple of any of our claffic writers, and who does not seem in general very fond of the figurative manner, is not always free from cenfure in his management of the metaphorical language. In his effay on the Diffentions of Athens and Rome, speaking of the populace, he takes notice, that "tho "in their corrupt notions of divine wor

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ship, they are apt to multiply their "gods, yet their earthly devotion is fel"dom paid to above one idol at a time, "whofe oar they pull with lefs murmur

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ing and much more skill, than when

they share the lading, or even hold the` "belm." The moft injudicious writer could not poffibly have fallen into a more abfurd

inconfiftency of metaphor, than this eminent wit has inadvertently been betrayed into, in this paffage. For what connection is there between worshiping and rowing? and who ever heard before of pulling the oar of an idol ?

As there are certain metaphors which are common to all languages; there are others of fo delicate a nature as not to bear tranfplanting from one nation into another. There is no part, therefore, of the business of a tranflator more difficult to manage, than this figure, as it requires great judg ment to distinguish when it may, and may not, be naturalized with propriety and elegance. The want of this neceffary difcernment has led the common race of tranflators into great abfurdities, and is one of the principal reasons that performances of this kind are generally fo infipid. What strange work, for inftance, would an injudicious interpreter make with the following metaphor in Homer?

Νυν γαρ παντεσιν επί ξυρο ισαται ακης.

II. x. 173.

But Mr. Pope, by artfully dropping the particular image, yet retaining the general I 4

idea,

idea, has happily preferved the spirit of his author, and at the fame time humored the different tafte of his own countrymen :

Each fingle Greek, in this conclufive ftrife, Stands on the sharpeft edge of death or life.

AND now, Orontes, do you not think it high time to be difmiffed from this fairy land? Permit me, however, just to add, that this figure, which cafts fo much light and beauty upon works of genius, ought to be entirely banished from the feverer compofitions of philofophy. It is the bufiness of the latter to separate resemblances, not to find them, and to deliver her difcoveries in the plainest and most unornamented expreffions. Much difpute, and, perhaps, many errors, might have been avoided, if metaphor had been thus confined within its proper limits, and never wandred from the regions of eloquence and poetry. I am, &c.

LET

D

LETTER XXV.

To PHILOTES.

ON'T you begin to think that I ill deserve the prescription you fent me, fince I have scarce had the manners even to thank you for it? It must be confeffed I have neglected to honor my phyfician with the honor due unto him; that is, I have omitted, not only what I ought to have performed in good breeding, but what I am exprefly enjoined by my Bible. I am not, however, entirely without excufe; a filly one, I own; nevertheless, it is the truth: I have lately been a good deal out of spirits. But at length the fit is over. Amongst the number of those things which are wanting to fecure me from a return of it, I must always reckon the company of my friend. I have, indeed, frequent occafion for you; not in the way of your profeffion, but in a better in the way of friendship. There is a healing quality in that intercourse, which a certain author has, with infinite propriety, termed the medicine of life. It is a medicine, which unluckily lies almost wholly out of my reach; fortune having separated

me

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