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A sullen bull; then plunging deep their hands Into the foaming gore, with oaths invok'd Mars, and Enyo, and blood-thirsting terror.
Sometimes, indeed, the thoughts of this author are too gross, rough, and unpolished; yet Euripides himself, spurred on too fast by emulation, ventures even to the brink of like
too violent to yield to his proposal in words, but assent in a manner that at once displays the art of the poet, gives the reader a terrible idea of the fallen angels, and imprints a dread and horror on the mind.
He spake , and to confirm his words, out flew
Hurling defiance tow’rd the vault of heav'n. How vehemently does the fury of Northumberland exert itself in Shakespeare, when he hears of the death of his son Hotspur. The rage and distraction of the surviving Father shews how important the Son was in his opinion. Nothing must be, now he is not: nature itself must fall with Percy. His grief renders him frantie, his anger desperate.
Let heav'n kiss earth! now let not nature's hand
imperfections. In Æschylus the palace of
appearance of Bacchus:
Euripides has the same thought, but he has
The vocal mount in agitation shakes 5,
* Tollius is of opinion, that Longinus blames neither the thought of Euripides nor Æschylus, but only the word Banxeve, which, he says, has not so much sweetness, nor raises so nice an idea, as the word oop GUNXEUES. Dr. Pearce thinks Æschylus is censured for making the palace instinct with Bacchanalian fury, to which Euripides has given a softer and sweeter turn, by making the mountain only reflect the cries of the Bacchanals.
There is a daring image, with an expression of a harsh
She foul blasphemous speeches forth did cast,
Milton shews a greater boldness of fiction than either
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
· Sophocles has succeeded nobly in his Images, when he describes his Oedipus in all the agonies of approaching death, and burying himself in the midst of a prodigious tempest; when he gives us a sight of the apparition of Achilles upon his tomb, at the departure of the Greeks from Troy. But I know not whether any one has described that ap
6. The tragedy of Sophocles, where this apparition is described, is entirely lost. Dr. Pearce observes, that there is an unhappy imitation of it in the beginning of Seneca's Troades; and another in Ovid. Metam, lib. xiii. 441. neat without spirit, and elegant without grandeur.
Ghosts are very frequent in English tragedies; but ghosts, as well as fairies, seem to be the peculiar province of Shakespeare. In such circles none but he could move with dignity. That in Hamlet is introduced with the utmost solemnity, awful throughout, and majestic. At the appearance of Banquo in Macbeth (Act. 3. Sc. 5.) the Images are set off in the strongest expression, and strike the imagination with high degrees of horror, which is supported with surprising art through the whole scene.
There is a fine touch of this nature in Job iv. 13. “In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep
sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trem“bling, which made all my bones to shake: Then a
spirit passed before my face, the hair of my flesh stood
up. It stood still, but I could not discern the form “ thereof: an image_before mine eyes—silence—and “ I heard a voice --Shall mortal man be more just than “ God?" &c. &c.
parition more divinely than · Simonides. To quote all these instances at large would be endless.
To return : Images in poetry are pushed to a fabulous excess, quite surpassing the bounds of probability ; whereas in oratory, their beauty consists in the most exact propriety and nicest truth: and sublime excursions are absurd and impertinent, when mingled with fiction and fable, where fancy sallies out into direct impossibilities. Yet to excesses like these, our able orators (kind heaven make them really such!) are very much addicted. With the tragedians, they behold the tormenting furies, and with all their sagacity never find out, that when Orestes exclaims * Loose me, thou fury, let me go, torment'ress: Close you
embrace, to plunge me headlong down Into th' abyss of Tartarus the Image had seized his fancy, because the mad fit was upon him, and he was actually raving.
* Simonides the Ceian was a celebrated poet. Cicero de Orat. l. 2. declares him the inventor of artificial memory: and Quinctilian, l. x. c. 1. gives him this commendation as a poet: “ His excellency lay in moving “ compassion, so that some prefer him in this particu" lar before all other writers.”. * Euripid. Orest. v. 264.
What then is the true use of Images in Oratory? They are capable, in abundance of cases, to add both nerves and passion to our speeches. For if the Images be skilfully blended with the proofs and descriptions, they not only persuade, but subdue an audience. “ If any one, says a great orator*, should “ hear a sudden out-cry before the tribunal, “ whilst another brings the news that the pri“ son is burst open and the captives escaped,
no man, either.young or old, would be of “so abject a spirit as to deny his utmost assist
ancc. But if amongst this hurry and con“ fusion another should arrive, and cry out, “ This is the Author of these disorders--the ~ miserable accused, unjudged, and unsen“ tenced, would perish on the spot.”
So Hyperides, when he was accused of passing an illegal decree, for giving liberty to slaves, after the defeat of Cheronea; “ It
was not an orator," said he,“ that made this si decree, but the battle of Chæronea.” At the same time that he exhibits proofs of his legal proceedings, he intermixes an Image of the battle, and by that stroke of art, quite passes the bounds of mere persuasion. It is natural to us to hearken always to that which
* Demosth. Orat. contra Timocr. non procul à fine.