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OMPARISONS, as obferved above*, ferve two different purposes: When addreffed to the understanding, their purpofe is to inftruct; when to the heart, their purpofe is to give pleasure. With refpect to the latter, a comparison may be employ'd to produce various pleafures by different. means. First, by fuggefting fome unusual
* Chap. 8.
resemblance or contraft: fecond, by fetting an object in the ftrongest light: third, by affociating an object with others that are agreeable fourth, by elevating an object : and, fifth, by depreffing it. And that comparisons may produce various pleasures by these different means, appears from what is faid in the chapter above cited; and will be made still more evident by examples, which shall be given after premifing fome general obfervations.
An object of one fenfe cannot be compared to an object of another; for fuch objects are totally feparated from each other, and have no circumftance in common to admit either refemblance or contraft. Objects of hearing may be compared, as alfo of tafte, and of touch. But the chief fund of comparison are objects of fight; because, in writing or fpeaking, things can only be compared in idea, and the ideas of vifible objects are by far more lively than those of any other fenfe.
It has no good effect to compare things by way of fimile that are of the fame kind, nor to contraft things of different kinds.
The reason is given in the chapter cited above; and the reafon fhall be illuftrated by examples. The firft is a refemblance instituted betwixt two objects fo nearly related as to make little or no impreffion.
This just rebuke inflam'd the Lycian crew,
Two ftubborn fwains with blows difpute their
They tugg, they fweat; but neither gain, nor
One foot, one inch, of the contended field:
Another from Milton labours under the fame defect. Speaking of the fallen angels fearching for mines of gold:
A numerous brigade haften'd: as when bands
Forerun the royal camp to trench a fieldedir?
Or caft a rampart.
of rabne pre
The next shall be of things contrafted that are of different kinds.
Queen. What, is my Richard both in fhape and
Transform'd and weak? Hath Bolingbroke depos'd
Thine intellect? Hath he been in thy heart?
This comparison has scarce any force. A man and a lion are of different species; and there is no fuch resemblance betwixt them in general, as to produce any ftrong effect by contrasting particular attributes or circumstances.
A third general obfervation is, That abstract terms can never be the subject of comparifon, otherwise than by being perfonified.