Puslapio vaizdai

is exhorted to drown his cares in wine. Having narrowly escaped death by the fall of a tree, this poet * takes occafion properly to obferve, that while we guard against fome dangers, we are expofed to others we cannot forefee: he ends with difplaying the power of mufic. of mufic. The parts of ode 16. lib. 2. are fo loosely connected as to disfigure a poem otherwife extremely beautiful. The 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 11th, 24th, 27th odes of the 3d book, lie open all of them to the fame cenfure. The first satire, book 1. is fo deformed by want of connection, as upon the whole to be fcarce agreeable: it commences with an important queftion, How it happens that people, though much fatisfied with themselves, are feldom fo with their rank or condition? after illustrating 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 promises 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 queftion propofed in the beginning.

Of Virgil's Georgics, though esteemed 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 de

* Lib. 2. ode 13.

+ Lin. 231.

viates from his fubject to give a description of the five zones: the want of connection here is remarkable, as well as in the defcription of the prodigies that accompanied the death of Cæfar, with which the fame book is concluded. A digreffion upon the praifes of Italy in the fecond book*, is not more happily introduced: and in the midft of a declamation upon the pleasures of husbandry, that makes part of the fame book †, the author introduces himself into the poem without the flighteft 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 praife upon Lewis the Fourteenth. The two prefaces of Salluft, look as if they had been prefixed by fome blunder to his two hiftories: they will fuit any other history as well, or any fubject as well as hiftory. Even the members of thefe prefaces are but loosely connected: they look more like a number of maxims or obferva→ tions than a connected difcourfe.


An episode in a narrative poem, being in effect an acceffory, demands not that ftrict union with the principal fubject which is requifite between a whole and its conftituent parts: it demands however that degree of union which ought to fubfift between a principal and acceffory; and therefore will not be graceful if it be loosely con

Lin. 136.

+ Lin. 475.


nected with the principal fubject. I give for an example the defcent of Æneas into hell, which employs the fixth book of the Eneid: the reader is not prepared for this important event: no caufe is affigned, that can make it appear neceffary, or even natural, to fufpend, for fo long a time, the principal action in its moft interesting period: to engage Eneas to wander from his courfe in fearch of an adventure fo extraordinary, the poet can find no better pretext, than the hero's longing to vifit the ghost of his father recently dead: in the mean time the ftory is interrupted, and the reader lofes his ardor. It is pity that an episode fo extremely beautiful fhould not arife more naturally from the fubject. I must observe 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 defcription of Fame in the Eneid any other book of that heroic poem, or * : of any heroic poem, has as good a title to that description 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 flightest kind is relished. This

Lib. 4. lin., 173,


however ought not to be imitated in defcription: words are fo far fhort of the eye in livelinefs of impreffion, that in a defcription the connection of objects ought to be carefully ftudied, in order to make the deeper impreffion; for it is a known fact, the reafon of which is fuggested above, that it is easier by words to introduce into the mind a related object, than one unconnected with the preceding train. 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 faturæ, venit Hefperus, ite capellæ.
Virg. Buc. x. 75-

The introduction of an object metaphorically or figuratively, can never juftify 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 those climes which moft his fcorching know,
He makes the noblest 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,


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and even in their production. But this fubject is referved 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 flight in appearance, as what is erected upon the relations of objects and their arrangement. Relations make no capital figure in the mind, the bulk of them being transitory, and fome extremely trivial: they are however the links that, uniting our perceptions into one connected chain, produce connection of action, because perceptions and actions have an intimate correspondence. But it is not fufficient for the conduct of life, that our actions be linked together, however intimately it is befide neceffary that they proceed in a certain order; and this alfo is provided for by an original propenfity. 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 fhould be hurried from thought to thought, and from action to action, entirely at the mercy of chance.


*Part I. fect. 4.


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