Page images

And fields of radiance, whose unfading light *
Has travell’d the profound fix thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
Ev'n on the barriers of the world untir’d
She meditates th' eternal gulph below;
Till, half recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o’erwhelm’d and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, the fov’reign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Pow'r's purple robes, nor pleasure's flow'ry lap,
The soul should find enjoyment; but from these,
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Thro' all th' ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till ev'ry bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene t.

$ 5. The Climax, as it connects and dwells upon our ideas, may be the more likely to make the stronger impression upon the minds of our hearers. But let it (I mean the strict and regular Climax ) be used sparingly; and that for the very good reason which QUINTILIAN assigns, “ because the art in forming it is so open « and obvious [.”

It * It was a notion of the great Mr Huygens, that there might be fixed stars at such a distance from our solar system, as that their light should not have had time to reach us, even from the creation of the world to this day. + Pleasures of Imagination, book i. line 183.

I Gradatio, quæ dicitur xaopat, apertiorem habet artem.. ideoque esse rarior debet. QUINTIL.. lib. ix, cap. 3. § 2.

It may not be improper to observe, that we should strictly guard against every thing that has the least tendency to an Anti-Climax, or the diminution, instead of the improvement of our ideas, as they are following one another in the orderly succession which has been described.

I own that in the noble poem of Mr Waller's upon the death of the famous Cromwell, there is something like an Anti-Climax, that disgusts me in the words, part of Flanders, as they come in the rear of some very strong and magnificent

· ideas.

Our dying hero from the continent
Ravish'd whole towns; and forts from Spaniards reft,
As his last legacy to Britain left. :
The ocean, which so long our hopes confin'd,
Could give no limits to his vaster mind:

Our bounds enlargement was his latest toil, · Nor hath he left us pris'ners to our isle: .

Under the tropic is our language spoke,
And part of Flanders has receiv'd our yoke.

What a want of beauty may be observed in a
stanza in Dr Watts's Imitation of the 84th Psalm,
evidently owing to an Anti-Climax ? .
LORD, at thy threshold I would wait,

While Jesus is within,
Rather than fill a throne of state,

Or live in tents of sin.

[ocr errors]

How much better had the stanza run, if the Au
thor had thus formed it ?
. . T


LORD, while my Saviour is within,

I'll at thy threshold wait, Rather than live in tents of fin,

Or fill a throne of state. And it is observable that the Doctor, in his version of the Pfalm, in a different metre, has preserved the Climax ;

Might I enjoy the meanest place
Within thy house, O God of grace;
Not tents of eafe, nor thrones of pow'r
Could tempt my feet to leave thy door.

Let me add a passage of Mr ADDISON's to our purpose. “ I will conclude this head, says 6 he, with taking notice of a certain Figure, - which was unknown to the ancients, and in 66 which this Letter-writer very much excels. 66 This is called by some an Anti-Climax; an in“ stance of which we have in the roth page, “ where he tells us, That Britain may expeat to u have this only glory left ber ; that she has proved a farm to the Bank, a province to Hol“ land, and a jest to the whole world. I never

met with so sudden à downfal in so promis« ing a sentence. A jest to the whole world, “ gives fuch an unexpected turn to this happy

period, that I was heartily troubled and sur“ prised to meet with it. I do not remember “ in all my reading to have observed more than: « two couplets of verses that have been written 6 in this Figure: the first are thus quoted by 64 Mr DRYDEN,


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Not only London echoes with thy fame,

But also Islington has heard the fame.
The other are in French,

Allez vous, luy dit il; fans bruit chez vos parens
Ou vous avez laisse, votre honneur, & vos gens.

6. But we need go no further than the letter beí fore us for examples of this nature, as we u may find in page the eleventh : Mankind remains convinced that a Queen, poffessed of all the virtues requisite to bless a nation, or make a private family happy, fits on the throne. Is this 6 panegyric or burlelque? To see so glorious

a Queen celebrated in such a manner gives 66 every good subject a secret indignation, and to looks like SCARRON's character of the great « Queen SEMIRAMIS ; who, says that Author, was the founder of Babylon, conqueror of the East, 66 and an excellent housewife *.”

Addison's Whig-Examiner, No 2. See his Miscellaneous Works, vol. ii. p. 300. O&avo edition.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

$ 1. Its definition. § 2. Examples from ORPHEUS, · ARATUS, CATULLUS, MILTON, Watts, and - Burnet. $ 3. Two instances of this Figure

from Horace and Casimire, in their descriptions of a country life. § 4. Examples from Scripture. $ 5. QUINTILIAN's sentiments upon the Hypotyposis. $ 6. Directions concerning the use of this Figure.

§ 1. p rpotyposis * is a Figure, by which we

I give such a distinct and lively representation of what we have occasion to describe, as furnishes our hearers with a particular, fatisfactory, and complete knowledge of our subject.

§ 2. A vast variety of instances of the Hypotyposis might be produced from ancient and modern Writers; but that I may neither, on the one hand, indulge to an extravagant and needless profusion, nor, on the other, be wanting in the recital of examples of a Figure so animated and


* From UTOTUTOW, I delineate, or represent.

« PreviousContinue »