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25. EPITRITUS 1st, the first syllable short and the other three long: voluptates.

26. EPITRITUs 2d, the second syllable short and the other three long: pænitentes.

27. EPITRITUS 3d, the third syllable short and the other three long: discordias.

28. EPITRITUS 4th, the last syllable short and the other three long: fortunatus.

29. A word of five syllables composed of a Pyrrhichius and Dactylus ministerial.


30. A word of five syllables composed of a Trochæus and Dacty

lus singularity.

31. A word of five syllables composed of a Dactylus and Trochaus: precipitation, examination.

32. A word of five syllables, the second only long: significancy. 33. A word of six syllables composed of two Dactyles: impetuosity. 34. A word of six syllables composed of a Tribrachys and Dactyle:


N. B. Every word may be considered as a prose foot, because every word is distinguished by a pause; and every foot in verse may be considered as a verse word, composed of syllables pronounced at once without a pause.



COMPARISONS, as observed above,* serve two purposes: When addressed to the understanding, their purpose is to instruct; when to the heart, their purpose is to please. Various means contribute to the latter: first, The suggesting some unusual resemblance or contrast; second, The setting an object in the strongest light; third, The associating an object with others that are agreeable; fourth, The elevating an object; and fifth, The depressing it. And that comparisons may give pleasure by these various means, appears from what is said in the chapter above cited; and will be made still more evident by examples, which shall be given after premising some general observations.

Objects of different senses cannot be compared together; for such objects, being entirely separated from each other, have no circumstance in common to admit either resemblance or contrast. Ob. jects of hearing may be compared together; as also of taste, of smell, and of touch: but the chief fund of comparison are objects of sight; because, in writing or speaking, things can only be compared in idea, and the ideas of sight are more distinct and lively than those of any other sense.

When a nation, emerging out of barbarity, begins to think of the fine arts, the beauties of language cannot long lie concealed; and, when discovered, they are generally, by the force of novelty, car

Chap. 8.


ried beyond moderation. Thus, in the early poems of every nation, we find metaphors and similies founded on slight and distant resemblances, which, losing their grace with their novelty, wear gradually out of repute; and now, by the improvement of taste, none but correct metaphors and similies are admitted into any polite composition. To illustrate this observation, a specimen shall be given afterward of such metaphors as I have been describing; with respect to similies, take the following specimen :

Behold, thou art fair, my love: Thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Mount Gilead; thy teeth are like a flock of sheep from the washing, every one bearing twins; thy lips are like a thread of scarlet; thy neck like the tower of David, built for an armoury, whereon hang a thousand shields of mighty men ; thy two breasts like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies; thy eyes like the fish-pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim; thy nose like the tower of Lebanon, looking toward Damascus.-Song of Solomon,

Thou art like snow on the heath; thy hair like the mist of Cromla, when it curls on the rocks and shines to the beam of the west; thy breasts are like two smooth rocks seen from Branno of the streams; thy arms like two white pillars in the hall of the mighty Fingal.—Fingal.

It has no good effect to compare things, by way of simile, that are of the same kind; nor to compare, by contrast, things of different kinds. The reason is given in the chapter quoted above; and the reason shall be illustrated by examples. The first is a comparison built upon a resemblance so obvious as to make little or no impression.

This just rebuke inflam'd the Lycian crew,
They join, they thicken, and th' assault renew:
Unmov'd the embodied Greeks their fury dare,
And, fix'd, support the weight of all the war;
Nor could the Greeks repel the Lycian pow'rs,
Nor the bold Lycians force the Grecian tow'rs.
As on the confines of adjoining grounds,

Two stubborn swains with blows dispute their bounds;

They tug, they sweat; but neither gain nor yield,

One foot, one inch, of the contended field:

Thus obstinate to death, they fight, they fall;

Nor these can keep, nor those can win the wall.—Iliad, xii. 505.

Another, from Milton, lies open to the same objection. Speaking of the fallen angels searching for mines of gold :

A numerous brigade hasten'd: as when bands
Of pioneers with spade and pick-axe arm'd,
Forerun the royal camp to trench a field
Or cast a rampart.

The next shall be of things contrasted that are of different kinds :

Queen. What, is my Richard both in shape and mind
Transform'd and weak? Hath Bolingbroke depos'd
Thine intellect? Hath he been in thy heart!
The lion thrusteth forth his paw,

And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage

To be o'erpower'd: and wilt thou, pupil-like,

Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,

And fawn on rage with base humility ?—Richard II. act 5. sc. 1.

This comparison has scarce any force a man and a lion are of

different species, and therefore are proper subjects for a simile; but there is no such resemblance between them in general, as to produce any strong effect by contrasting particular attributes or circumstances.

A third general observation is, That abstract terms can never be the subject of comparison, otherwise than by being personified. Shakspeare compares adversity to a toad, and slander to the bite of a crocodile; but in such comparisons these abstract terms must be imagined sensible beings.

To have a just notion of comparisons, they must be distinguished into two kinds; one common and familiar, as where a man is compared to a lion in courage, or to a horse in speed; the other more distant and refined, where two things that have in themselves no resemblance or opposition, are compared with respect to their effects. This sort of comparison is occasionally explained above;* and for farther explanation take what follows. There is no resemblance between a flower-pot and a cheerful song; and yet they may be compared with respect to their effects, the emotions they produce being similar. There is There is a little resemblance between fraternal concord and precious ointment; and yet observe how successfully they are compared with respect to the impressions they make :

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon Aaron's beard, and descended to the skirts of his garment.-Psalm 133.

For illustrating this sort of comparison, I add some more examples :

Delightful is thy presence, O Fingal! it is like the sun on Cromla, when the hunter mourns his absence for a season and sees him between the clouds.

Did not Ossian hear a voice? or is it the sound of days that are no more? Often, like the evening sun, comes the memory of former times on my soul.

His countenance is settled from war; and is calm as the evening-beam, that from the cloud of the west looks on Cona's silent vale.

Sorrow, like a cloud on the sun, shades the soul of Clessammor.

The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.

Pleasant are the words of the song, said Cuchullin, and lovely are the tales of other times. They are like the calm dew of the morning on the hill of roes, when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale.

These quotations are from the poems of Ossian, who abounds with comparisons of this delicate kind, and appears singularly happy in them.†

I proceed to illustrate, by particular instances, the different means by which comparisons, whether of the one sort or the other, can afford pleasure; and, in the order above established, I begin with such instances as are agreeable, by suggesting some unusual resemblance or contrast:

* Page 67.

The nature and merit of Ossian's comparisons is fully illustrated in a dissertation on the poems of that author, by Dr. Blair, professor of rhetoric in the co!lege of Edinburgh ;-a delicious morsel of criticism.

Sweet are the uses of Adversity;

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in her head.-As you like it, act 2. sc. 1.

Gardener. Bolingbroke hath seized the wasteful King.

What pity is't that he had not so trimm'd
And dress'd his land, as we this garden dress;
And wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,
Lest, being over proud with sap and blood,
With too much richness it confound itself.
Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have liv'd to bear, and he to taste
Their fruits of duty. All superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live:
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
Which waste and idle hours have quite thrown down.
Richard II. act 3. sc. 77.

See how the Morning opes her golden gates,
And takes his farewell of the glorious Sun;
How well resembles it the prime of youth,
Trimm'd like a younker prancing to his love!

Second part, Henry IV. act 2. sc. 1.

Brutus. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,
That carries anger as the flint bears fire:
Who, much enforced, shews a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.-Julius Cæsar, act 4. sc. 3.

Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief:
As when from mountain tops, the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north-wind sleeps, o'erspread
Heav'n's cheerful face, the low'ring element
Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape, snow and show'r:
If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet,
Extends his ev'ning beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds

Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.-Paradise Lost, b. 2.

As the bright stars, and milky way,
Shew'd by the night, are hid by day:
So we in that accomplish'd mind,
Help'd by the night new graces find.
Which by the splendour of her view,
Dazzled before, we never knew.-Waller.

The last exertion of courage compared to the blaze of a lamp before extinguishing, Tasso Gierusal., canto 19. st. 22.

None of the foregoing similies, as they appear to me, tend to illusterate the principal subject: and therefore the pleasure they afford must arise from suggesting resemblances that are not obvious: I mean the chief pleasure; for undoubtedly a beautiful subject introduced to form the simile affords a separate pleasure, which is felt in the similies mentioned, particularly in that cited from Milton.

The next effect of a comparison in the order mentioned, is to place an object in a strong point of view; which effect is remarkable in the following similies:

As when two scales are charg'd with doubtful loads,
From side to side the trembling balance nods,
(While some laborious matron, just and poor,
With nice exactness weighs her woolly store),

Till pois'd aloft, the resting beam suspends
Each equal weight; nor this nor that descends :
So stood the war, till Hector's matchless might,
With fates prevailing, turn'd the scale of fight.
Fierce as a whirlwind up the wall he flies,

And fires his host with loud repeated cries.-Iliad, b. xii. 521.

Ut flos in septis secretis nascitur hortis,
Ignotus pecori, nullo contusus aratro,
Quem mulcent auræ firmat sol, educat imber,
Multi illum pueri, multæ cupiêre puellæ;
Idem, cum tenui carptus dufloruit ungui,
Nulli illum pueri, nullæ cupiêre puellæ ;

Sie virgo, dum intacta manet, dum cara suis; sed

Cum castum amisit, polluto corpore, florem,

Nec pueris jucunda manet, nec cara puellis.-Catullus.

The imitation of this beautiful simile by Ariosto, canto 1. st. 42. falls short of the original. It is also in part imitated by Pope.*

Lucetta. I do not seek to quench your love's hot fire,

But qualify the fire's extreme rage,

Lest it should burn above the bounds of reason.

Julia. The more thou damm'st it up, the more it burns:
The current, that with gentle murmur glides,

Thou know'st, being stopp'd, impatiently doth rage;
But when his fair course is not hindered,

He makes sweet music with th' enamell'd stones,
Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge

He overtaketh in his pilgrimage;
And so by many winding nooks he strays
With willing sport, to the wild ocean.
Then let me go, and hinder not my course:
I'll be as patient as a gentle stream,

And make a pastime of each weary step,

Till the last step have brought me to my love;

And there I'll rest, as, after much turmoil,

A blessed soul doth in Elysium.—Two Gentlemen of Verona, act 2, sc. 10.

-She never told her love :
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,

Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought;

And, with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at Grief.-Twelfth Night, act 2. sc. 6.

York. Then, as I said, the Duke, great Bolingbroke,
Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
Which his aspiring rider seem'd to know,
With slow but stately pace, kept on his course:

While all tongues cry'd, God save thee, Bolingbroke.

Duchess. Alas! poor Richard, where rides he the while!

York. As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage,

Are idly bent on him who enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious:

Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
Did scowl on Richard; no man cry'd, God save him!
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head:
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience;

*Dunciad, b. 4. l. 405.

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