Puslapio vaizdai

Imagery and figurative expreffion, are difcordant, in the highest degree, with the agony of a mother, who is deprived of two hopeful fons by a brutal murder. Therefore the following paffage is undoubtedly in a bad tafte.

Queen. Ah, my poor princes! ah, my tender babes!
My unblown flow'rs, new appearing fweets!

If yet your gentle fouls fly in the air,
And be not fixt in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings,
And hear your mother's lamentation.

Richard III. act 4. fc. 4.


K. Philip. You are as fond of grief as of your child.
Conftance. Grief fills the room up of my abfent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garment with his form;
Then have I reason to be fond of grief..

King Jon, at 3. Sc. 6.

A thought that turns upon the expreffion inftead of the subject, commonly called a play of words, being low and childish, is unworthy of any compofition, whether gay or ferious, that pretends to any degree of elevation; thoughts of this kind make a fifth class.

In the Aminta of Taifo* the lover falls into
At 1. fc. 3.

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a mere play of words, demanding how he who had loft himself, could find a miftrefs. And for the fame reason, the following paffage in Corneille has been generally condemned:

Chimene. Mon pere eft mort, Elvire, et la premiére épée

Dont s'eft armée Rodrigue à fa trame coupée.
Pleurez, pleurez, mes yeux, et fondez-vous en cau,
La moitié de ma vie a mis l'autre au tombeau,
Et m'oblige à venger, aprés ce coup funefte,
Celle que je n'ai plus, fur celle que me refte.

Cid, act 3. fc. 3.

To die is to be banish'd from myself :
And Sylvia is myfelf; banifh'd from her,
Is felf from felf; a deadly banishment !

Two Gentlemen of Verona, act 3. Sc. 3.

Countess. I pray thee, Lady, have a better cheer :
If thou ingroffeft all the griefs as thine,
Thou robb'st me of a moiety.

All's well that ends well, act 3. Sc. 3.

K. Henry. O my poor kingdom, fick with civil blows!
When that my care could not with-hold thy riots,
What wilt thou do when riot is thy care?
O, thou wilt be a wilderness again,
Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants.

Second part, Henry IV. act 4. c. 11.

Cruda Amarilli, che col nome ancora
D'amar, ahi laffo, amaramente insegni.


I i

Paftor Fido, act 1. sc. 2.


Antony, fpeaking of Julius Cæfar:

O world! thou waft the foreft of this hart;
And this, indeed, O world, the heart of thee.
How like a deer, ftriken by many princes,
Doft thou here lie!
Julius Cafar, a&t 3. fc. 3.

Playing thus with the found of words, which is ftill worse than a pun, is the meanest of all conceits. But Shakespear, when he defcends to a play of words, is not always in the wrong; for it is done fometimes to denote a peculiar character, as in the following paffage :

K. Philip. What fay'ft thou, boy? look in the lady's face.

Lewis. I do, my Lord, and in her eye I find A wonder, or a wond'rous miracle;

The fhadow of myfelf form'd in her eye;
Which being but the fhadow of your fon,
Becomes a fun, and makes your fon a fhadow.
I do proteft, I never lov'd myself,

Till now infixed I beheld myself

Drawn in the flatt'ring table of her eye.

Faulconbridge. Drawn in the flatt'ring table of her eye! Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!

And quarter'd in her heart! he doth efpy
Himself Love's traitor: this is pity now,

That hang'd, and drawn, and quarter'd, there fhould be, In fuch a love fo vile a lout as he.

King John, act 2. fc. 5.

A jingle of words is the loweft fpecies of this low wit; which is fcarce fufferable in any cafe,


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and least of all in an heroic poem: and yet Milton in some instances has defcended to this puerility:

And brought into the world a world of wo.
Begirt th'almighty throne.

Befeeching or befieging

Which tempted our attempt————

At one flight bound high overleap'd all bound.

-With a fhout
Loud as from numbers without number.

One fhould think it unneceffary to enter a caveat against an expreffion that has no meaning, or no diftinct meaning; and yet fomewhat of this kind may be found even among good writers. Such make a fixth clafs.

Sebaftian, I beg no pity for this mould'ring clay.
For if you give it burial, there it takes
Poffeffion of your earth:

If burnt and scatter'd in the air; the winds

That ftrow my duft, diffufe my royalty,

And spread me o'er your clime; for where one atom
Of mine fhall light, know there Sebastian reigns.

Dryden, Don Sebaftian King of Portugal, act 1.

Cleopatra. Now, what news. my Charmion?
Will he be kind? and will he not forfake me?
Am I to live or die? nay, do I live?
Or am I dead? for when he gave his answer,
Fate took the word, and then I liv'd or dy'd.

Dryden, All for Love, act̃ 2.


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His whole poem, infcribed, My Picture, is a jargon of the fame kind.

'Tis he, they cry, by whom

Not men, but war itself is overcome.

Indian Queen.

Such empty expreffions are finely ridiculed in the Rehearfal:

Was't not unjust to ravish hence her breath,
And in life's ftead to leave us nought but death.

End of the FIRST VOLUME.

At 4. fc. 1.

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