Page images

66 of land, you

[ocr errors]

And this passage of Herodotus*: "You shall 4 sail upwards from the city Elephantina, and “ at length you will arrive upon a level coast. “ — - After


have travelled over this tract

shall go on board another ship, “ and sail two days, and then you will arrive “ at a great city, called Meroe."

called Meroe." You see, my friend, how he carries your imagination along with him in this excursion! how he conducts it through the different scenes, making even hearing sight! sight! And all such

passages, directly addressed to the hearers, make' them fancy themselves actually present in every occurrence. But when you address your discourse, not in general to all, but to one in particular, as heret, 2 You could not see, so fierce Tydides rag'd, Whether for Greece or Ilion he engag'd.

MR. POPE, * Herod. l. 2. c. 29. + Iliad. ε. ver. 85.

Solomon's words, in Prov. viii. 34, bear some resemblance, in the Transition, to this instance from Homer: “ She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the “ coming in of the doorsUnto you, O men, I call, 6 and


voice is to the sons of men."-DR. PEARCE. There is also an example of it in St. Luke, v. 14. “ And he commanded him to tell no man, but-Go, "shew thyself to the priest.”

And another more remarkable, in Psalm cxxviii. 2. « Blessed are all they that fear the Lord, and walk in “his ways—For thou shalt eat the labour of thy hands, “Oh! well is thee, and happy shalt thou be.”




By this address, you not only strike more upon his passions, but fill him with a more earnest attention, and a more anxious impatience for the event.


SOMETIMES when a writer is saying any thing of a person, he brings him in, by a sudden transition, to speak for himself. This figure producesa vehement and lively pathetic. * Now Hector, with loud voice, renew'd their toils, Bade them assault the ships and leave the spails; But whom I find at distance from the fleet, He from this vengeful arm his death shall meet*:


* There is a celebrated and masterly transition of this kind, in the 4th book of Milton's Paradise Lost.

Thus at their shady lodge arriv’d, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heav'n,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe
And starry pole-Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day

Mr. Addison observes, “That most of the modernt “ heroic poets have inuitated the ancients, in beginning “ a speech, without premising that the person said thus, “ or thus ; but as it is easy to imitate the ancients in

“ the omission of two or three words, it requires judg“ment to do it in such a manner as they shall not be “ missed, and that the speech may begin naturally with“ out them.”-SPECTATOR, NO. 321. * Iliad. o. ver. 346.


[ocr errors]


That part of the narration, which he could

, go through with decently, the poet here aga sumes to himself, but, without any previous notice, claps this abrupt menace into the mouth of his angry hero. How flat must it have sounded, had he stopped to put in, Hector spoke thus, or thus But now the quickness of the transition outstrips the very thought of the poet.

Upon which account this figure is then most seasonably applied, when the pressing exigency of time will not admit of any stop or delay, but even inforces a transition from persons to persons, as in this passage of He

? catáus: "Ceyr very much troubled at these

proceedings, immediately commanded all " the descendents of the Heraclide to depart “ his territories-For I am unable to assist

you. To prevent therefore your own destruction, and not to involve ine in your ruin, go seek a retreat amongst another people.” 3 Demosthenes has made use of this Figure



2 Hecateus:] He means Hecatæus the Milesian, the first of the historians, according to Suidas, who wrote in prose. LANGBAINE.

* Demosthenes has made use, &c.] Reading here in the original s instead of o, a very small alteration due to



in a different manner, and with much more passion and volubility, in his oration against Aristogiton*: And shall not one among you “.boil with wrath, when the iniquity of this “ insolent and profligate wretch is laid before

your eyes? This insolent wretch, I say, " whore-Thou, most abandoned creature! " when excluded the liberty of speaking, not by bars or gates, for these indeed some "other might have burst.”—The thought is here left imperfect and unfinished, and he almost tears his words asunder to address them at once to different


" Who-Thou " ? “ most abandoned creature:" Having diverted his discourse from Aristogiton, and seemingly left him, he turns again upon him, 4 and attacks him afresh with more violent


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the sagacity of Dr. Tonstal, clearly preserves the sense. For undoubtedly Demosthenes makes use of a Transition in the same manner with Homer and Hecatæus. I would therefore translate it thus— Demosthenes hath “ also inade use of this figure, not truly in a different “ manner, but with much more passion and volubility.”

* Orat. prima in Aristog. p. 486. ed. Paris.

* And attacks him afresh, &c.—] This figure is very artfully used by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans. His drift is to shew, that the Jews were not the people of God, exclusive of the Gentiles, and had no more reason than they, to form such high pretensions, since they had been equally guilty of violating the moral law of God,


strokes of heat and passion. So Penelope in Homer*, 5 The lordly suitors send! But why must you Bring baneful mandates from that odious crew?


[ocr errors]

which was, antecedent to the Mosaic, and of eternal obligation. Yet, not to exasperate the Jews at setting out, and so render them averse to all the arguments he might-afterwards produce, he begins with the Gentiles, and gives a black catalogue of all their vices, which (in reality were, as well as) appeared excessively heinous in the eyes of the Jews, till in the beginning of the second chapter, he unexpectedly turns upon them with, “ Therefore thou art inexcusable, () ian, whosoever " thou art that judgest,” ver. 1. and again, ver. 3. “ And thinkest thou this, Oman, that judgest them “ which do such things, and dost the same, that thou “shalt escape the judgment of God,” &c. &c. If the whole be read with attention, the apostle's art will be found surprising, his eloquence will appear grand, his strokes cutting, the attacks he makes on the Jews suc'cessive, and rising in their strength.

Odyss. d. ver. 681.

In these verses Penelope, after she had spoken of the suitors in the third person, seems on a sudden exasperated at their proceedings, and addresses her discourse to them as if they were present.

Why thus, ungen'rous men, devour my son? &c. To which passage in Homer, one in Virgil bears great resemblance, An. iii. ver. 708.

-Hic pelagi tot tempestatibus actus,
Heu! genitorem, omnis curæ casusque levamen,
Amitto Anchisen ; hic me, pater optime, fessum
Deseris, heu! tantis nequicquam erepte periclis.


[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »