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Shakespear compares adverfity to a toad, and flander to the bite of a crocodile; but in fuch comparisons these abstract terms must be imagined fenfible beings.
I now proceed to illuftrate by particular inftances the different means by which comparison can afford pleasure; and, in the order above established, I fhall begin with those instances that are agreeable by suggesting some unusual resemblance or
Sweet are the uses of Adverfity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
As you like it, alt 2. fc. 1.
Gardiner. Bolingbroke hath feiz'd the wasteful : King.
What pity is't that he had not so trimm'd
And drefs'd his land, as we this garden dress, And wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees;
Left, being over proud with fap and blood,
With too much riches it confound itself.
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live:
Richard II. act 3. Sc. 7.
See, how the Morning opes her golden gates,
Brutus. O Caffius, you are yoked with a lamb,
Julius Cafar, act 4. Sc. 3.
Thus they their doubtful confultations dark
If chance the radiant fun with farewell sweet
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds Atteft their joy, that hill and valley rings. Paradife Loft, book 2,
The last exertion of courage compared to the blaze of a lamp before extinguishing, Taffo Gierufalem, canto 19. ft, 22.
As the bright ftars, and milky way,
None of the foregoing fimiles, as it appears to me, have the effect to add any luftre to the principal subject; and therefore the pleasure they afford, muft arise from fuggefting refemblances that are not obvious; I mean the chief pleasure; for undoubtedly a beautiful fubject introduced to form the fimile affords a feparate pleafure, which is felt in the fimiles mentioned, particularly in that cited from Milton.
The next effect of a comparison in the VOL. III. B order
order mentioned, is to place an object in a ftrong point of view; which I think is done fenfibly in the following fimiles.
As when two fcales are charg'd with doubtful loads,
From fide to fide the trembling balance nods,
Ut flos in feptis fecretis nafcitur hortis,
The imitation of this beautiful fimile by A
riofto, canto 1. ft. 42. falls fhort of the ori
ginal. It is alfo in part imitated by Pope *.
Lucetta. I do not feek to quench your love's hot fire,
But qualify the fires extreme rage,
Left it fhould burn above the bounds of reason. Julia. The more thou damm'ft it up, the more it burns:
The current, that with gentle murmur glides, Thou know'ft, being stopp'd, impatiently doth
But when his fair courfe is not hindered,
He makes sweet mufic with th' enamel'd ftones
Giving a gentle kifs to every fedge -
And so by many winding nooks he strays
Two Gentlemen of Verona, at 2. Sc. 10.
Dunciad, b. 4. 1. 405.