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There stops So Hector. Their whole force he


Resistless when he rag'd; and when he stopt, unIliad xiii. 187.


The image of a falling rock is certainly not elevating*. Yet undoubtedly the foregoing image fires and fwells the mind. It is grand therefore, if not fublime. And that there is a real, though delicate distinction, betwixt these two feelings, will be illuftra*ted from the following fimile.

So faying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
Which hung not, but fo fwift with tempest fell
On the proud crest of Satan, that no fight,
Nor motion of swift thought, lefs could his fhield
Such ruin intercept. Ten paces huge
He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee
His maffy fpear upstaid; as if on earth
Winds under ground or waters forcing way

Sidelong had pufh'd a mountain from his feat
Half funk with all pines.

* See chap. 4.

Milton, b. 6.

A comparison by contrast may contribute to grandeur or elevation, not lefs than by resemblance; of which the following comparison of Luçan is a remarkable instance,

Victrix caufa diis placuit, fed victa Catoni.

Confidering that the Heathen deities poffeffed a rank but one degree above that of mankind, I think it fcarce poffible, by a fingle expreffion, to elevate or dignify more one of the human fpecies, than is done by this comparison. I am fenfible, at the same time, that such a compa rison among Chriftians, who entertain juster notions of the Deity, would justly be reckoned extravagant and abfurd,

The last article mentioned, is that of leffening or depreffing a hated or disagreeable object; which is effectually done by resembling it to any thing that is low or despicable. Thus Milton, in his defcription of the rout of the rebel-angels, happily expreffes their terror and difmay in the following fimile.


As a herd

Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd
Drove them before him thunder-ftruck, purfu'd
With terrors and with furies to the bounds
And cryftal wall of heav'n, which op'ning wide,"
Rowl'd inward, and a spacious gap difclos'd
Into the wafteful deep; the monftrous fight
Strook them with horror backward, but far worfe
Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they


Down from the verge of heav'n.

Milton, b. 6.

In the fame view, Homer, I think, may be defended, in comparing the fhouts of the Trojans in battle, to the noise of cranes *, and to the bleating of a flock of sheep+: and it is no objection, that these are low images; for by oppofing the noify march of the Trojans to the filent and manly march of the Greeks, he certainly intended to leffen the former. Addifon, imagining the figure that men make in the fight of a fuperior being, takes opportunity to mor


Beginning of book 3.

Guardian No. 153,

+ Book 4. 1. 498.

tify their pride by comparing them to a fwarm of pifmires.

A comparison that has none of the good effects mentioned in this difcourfe, but is built upon common and trifling circumftances, makes a mighty filly figure: "Non "fum nefcius, grandia confilia a multis "plerumque caufis, ceu magna navigia a «plurimis remis, impelli *."

By this time I imagine the different purpofes of comparison, and the various impreffions it makes on the mind, are fufficiently illuftrated by proper examples. This was an eafy work. It is more difficult to lay down rules about the propriety or impropriety of comparisons; in what circumstances they may be introduced, and in what circumstances they are out of place. It is evident, that a comparison is not proper upon every occafion; a man in his cool and fedate moments, is not difpofed to poetical flights, nor to facrifice truth and reality to the delufive operations of the imagination; far lefs is he fo difpofed, when oppreffed with cares, or interested in fome important tranfaction

Strada de bello Belgico.




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that occupies him totally. The region of comparison and of all figurative expreffion, lies betwixt these two extremes. It is obfervable, that a man, when elevated or animated by any paffion, is difpofed to elevate or animate all his objects: he avoids familiar names, exalts objects by circumlocution and metaphor, and gives even life and voluntary action to inanimate beings. In this warmth of mind, the highest poetical flights are indulged, and the boldeft fimiles and metaphors relished *. But without foaring fo high, the mind is frequently in a tone to relish chafte and moderate ornament; fuch as comparisons that fet the principal object in a strong point of view, or that embellish and diverfify the narration. In general, when by any animating paffion, whether pleafant or painful, an impulfe is given to the imagination; we are in that condition wonderfully difpofed to every fort of figu rative expreffion, and in particular to com

It is accordingly obferved by Longinus, in his treatise of the Sublime, that the proper time for metaphor, is when the paffions are fo fwelled as to hurry on like å torrent.


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