Puslapio vaizdai

guard against fome dangers, we are exposed to others we cannot foresee: he ends with displaying the power of mufic. The parts of ode 16. lib. 2. are fo loosely connected as to disfigure a poem otherwise extremely beautiful. The ft, 2d, 3d, 4th, 11th, 24th, 27th odes of the 3d book, lie open all of them to the fame cenfure. The first fatire, book 1. is fo deformed by want of connection, as upon the whole to be scarce agreeable it commences with an important question, How it happens that people, though much fatisfied with themselves, are feldom fo with their rank or condition. After illuftrating the obfervation in a sprightly manner by feveral examples, the author, forgetting his fubject, enters upon a declamation against avarice, which he pursues till the line 108. there he makes an apology for wandering, and promifes to return to his fubject; but avarice having got poffeffion of his mind, he follows out that theme to the end, and never returns to the question proposed in the beginning.

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Of Virgil's Georgics, tho' efteemed the most complete work of that author, the parts are ill connected, and the tranfitions far from being fweet and easy. In the first book * he deviates from his fubject to give a defcription of the five zones: the want of connection here, as well as in the defcription of the prodigies that accompa

*Lin. 231.

nied the death of Cæfar, are scarce pardonable. A digreffion on the praises of Italy in the second book, is not more happily introduced and in the midft of a declamation upon the pleasures of husbandry, which makes part of the fame book †, the author introduces himself into the poem without the slightest connection. In the Lutrin, the Goddess of Difcord is introduced without any connection: fhe is of no confequence in the poem; and acts no part except that of lavishing praise upon Lewis the Fourteenth. The two prefaces of Salluft look as if by fome blunder they had been prefixed to his two hiftories; they will fuit any other history as well, or any subject as well as history. Even the members of these prefaces are but loofely connected: they look more like a number of maxims or obfervations than a connected difcourse.

An episode in a narrative poem, being in effect an acceffory, demands not that strict union with the principal fubject, which is requifite between a whole and its conftituent parts: it demands, however, a degree of union, fuch as ought to fubfift between a principal and acceffory; and therefore will not be graceful if it be loosely connect. ed with the principal fubject. I give for an example the descent of Æneas into hell, which employs the fixth book of the Eneid: the reader is not prepared for that important event: no

*Lin. 136.

+ Lia 475.


caufe is affigned that can make it appear neceffary, or even natural, to fufpend for fo long a time the principal action in its most interesting period the poet can find no pretext for an adventure fo extraordinary, but the hero's longing to vifit the ghost of his father recently dead in the mean time the story is interrupted, and the reader lofes his ardour. Pity it is that an epifode fo extremely beautiful, were not more happily introduced. I muft obferve at the fame time, that full justice is done to this incident, by confidering it to be an episode; for if it be a constituent part of the principal action, the connection ought to be still more intimate. The fame objection lies against that elaborate description of Fame in the neid any other book of that heroic poem, or of any heroic poem, has as good a title to that defcription as the book where it is placed.


In a natural landfcape we every day perceive a multitude of objects connected by contiguity folely; which is not unpleasant, because objects of fight make an impreffion fo lively, as that a relation even of the flighteft kind is relished. This however ought not to be imitated in defcription words afe fo far fhort of the eye in liveliness of impreffion, that in a defcription connection ought to be carefully ftudied; for new objects introduced in description are made more

* Lib. 4. lin. 173.


or less welcome in proportion to the degree of their connection with the principal fubject. In the following paffage, different things are brought together without the flightest connection, if it be not what may be called verbal, i. e. taking the fame word in different meanings.

Surgamus folet effe gravis cantantibus umbra. Juniperi gravis umbra: nocent et frugibus umbræ. Ite domum faturae, venit Hefperus, ite capellæ. Virg. Buc. x. 75.

The introduction of an object metaphorically or figuratively, will not justify the introduction of it in its natural appearance: a relation fo flight can never be relished:

Diftruft in lovers is too warm a fun;

But yet 'tis night in love when that is gone.
And in thofe climes which most his forching know,
He makes the nobleft fruits and metals grow.

Part 2. Conquest of Granada, act 3.

The relations among objects have a confiderable influence in the gratification of our paffions, and even in their production. But that fubject is reserved to be treated in the chapter of emotions and paffions *.

There is not perhaps another inftance of a building fo great erected upon a foundation fo * Chap. 2. part 1. fect. 4.

flight in appearance, as the relations of objects and their arrangement. Relations make no capital figure in the mind, the bulk of them being tranfitory, and fome extremely trivial they are, however, the links that, by uniting our perceptions into one connected chain, produce connection of action, because perception and action have an intimate correfpondence. But it is not fufficient for the conduct of life, that our actions be linked together, however intimately it is beside neceffary that they proceed in a certain order; and this alfo is provided for by an original propensity. Thus order and connection, while they admit fufficient variety, introduce a method in the management of affairs: without them our conduct would be fluctuating and defultory; and we should be hurried from thought to thought, and from action to action, entirely at the mercy of chance.


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