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livened imagination, cannot be the language of anguish or distress. Otway, sensible of this, has painted a scene of distress in colours finely adapted to the subject : there is scarce a figure in it, except a short and natural simile with which the speech is introduced. Belvidera talking to her father of her husband :

Think you saw what past at our last parting;
Think you beheld him like a raging lion, ,
Pacing the earth, and tearing up his steps,
Fate in his eyes, and roaring with the pain
Of burning fury; think you saw his one hand
Fix'd on my throat, while the extended other
Grafp'd a keen threat’ning dagger ; oh, 'twas thus
We last embrac'd, when, trembling with revenge,
He dragg’d me to the ground, and at my bosom
Presented horrid death; cry'd out, My friends!
Where are my friends ? swore, wept, ragd, threatend,

For he yet lov’d, and that dear love preserv'd me
To this last trial of a father's pity.
I fear not death, but cannot bear a thought
That that dear hand should do th' unfriendly office;
If I was ever then your care, now hear me;
Fly to the senate, save the promis'd lives
Of his dear friends, ere mine be made the sacrifice.

Venice preserv’d, at 5.

To preserve the foresaid resemblance between words and their meaning, the sentiments of active and hurrying passions ought to be dressed in words where fyllables prevail that are pronounced VOL.I.



short or fast ; for these make an impression of hurry and precipitation. Emotions, on the other hand, that rest upon their objects, are best expressed by words where syllables prevail that are pronounced long or now. A person affected with melancholy has a languid and flow train of perceptions: the expreslion best suited to this state of mind, is where words, not only of long, but of many syllables abound in the composition; and for that reason, nothing can be finer than the following passage. In those deep folitudes, and awful cells, Where heav'nly-pensive Contemplation dwells, And ever-mufing Melancholy reigns.

Pope, Eloisa to Abelard. To preserve the same resemblance, another circumstance is requisite, that the language, like the emotion, be rough or smooth, broken or uniform. Calm and sweet emotions are best expressed by words that glide softly: surprise, fear, and other turbulent passions, require an expresfion both rough and broken.

It cannot have escaped any diligent inquirer into nature, that in the hạrry of passion, one generally expresses that thing first which is most at heart *: which is beautifully done in the following pailage,

* Demetrius Phalereus (of Elocution, fedt. 28.) justly observes, that an accurate adjustment of the words to the thought, so as to make them correspond in every particular, is only proper for fedate Lubjects; for that pallion speaks plain, and rejects all refinements.

Me, Me, me; adsum qui feci : in me convertite ferrum,

Rutuli, mca fraus omnis.

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Passion has often the effect of redoubling words, the better to make them express the strong conception of the mind. This is finely imitated in the following examples.

Thou sun, said I, fair light !
And thou enlighten’d earth, so fresh and gay!
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains !

ye that live, and move, fair creatures ! tell,
Tell, if ye faw, how came I thus, how here.-

Paradise Lost, b. viii. 273.

Both have finn'd! but thou
Against God only; I, 'gainst God and thee :
And to the place of judgement will return,
There with my cries importune Heav'n; that all
The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may light
On me, fole cause to thee of all this wo;
Me! Me! only just object of his ire.

Paradise Lost, book x. 930.

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Shakespear is superior to all other writers in delineating passion. It is difficult to say in what part he most excels, whether in moulding every passion to peculiarity of character, in discovering the sentiments that proceed from various tones of passion, or in expressing properly every different sentiment: he disgusts not his reader with general declamation and unmeaning words, too common in other writers: his sentiments are adjusted, with the greatest propriety, to the peculiar character and circumstances of the speaker; and the propriety is not less perfect between his fentiments and his diction. That this is no exaggeration, will be evident to every one of taste, upon comparing Shakespear with other writers, in similar passages. If upon any occafion he fall below himself, it is in those scenes where passion enters not : by endeavouring in this case to raise his dialogue above the style of ordinary conversation, he sometimes deviates into intricate thought and obscure expression *: sometimes,

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+ Of this take the following specimen.

They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition ; and, indeed it takes
From our atchievements, though perform'd at height,
The pich and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty,
Since Nature cannot chuse his origin),
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by fame habit, that too much o'er leavens
The form of plaufive manners; that these men
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
(Being Nature's livery, or Fostune's scar),
Their virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault.

Hamlet, act 1. fc.7.


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to throw his language out of the familiar, he employs rhyme. But may it not in some measure excuse Shakespear, I sliall not fay his works, that he had no pattern, in his own or in any living language, of dialogue fitted for the theatre ? At the same time, it ought not to escape observation, that the stream clears in its progress, and that in his later plays he has attained the purity and perfection of dialogue; an obfervation that, with greater certainty than tradition, will direct us to arrange his plays in the order of time. This ought to be considered, by those who exaggerate every blemish, that is discovered in the finest

genius for the drama ever the world enjoy’d: they ought also for their own fake to consider, that it is easier to discover his blemishes, which lie generally at the surface, than his beauties, which cannot be truly relished but by those who dive deep into human nature. One thing must be evident to the meanest capacity, that where-ever passion is to be display'd, Nature shows itself strong in him, and is conspicuous by the most delicate propriety of sentiment and expression *.

* The critics feem not perfectly to comprehend the genius of Shakespear. His plays are defective in the mechanical part, which is less the work of genius than of experience; and is no otherwise brought to perfection but by diligently observing the er. rors of former compositions. Shakespear excels all the ancients and moderns, in knowledge of human nature, and in unfolding even the most obscure and refined emotions. This is a rare faculty, and of the greatest importance in a dramatic author; and it is this faculty which makes him furpass all other writers in the coinic as well as tragic vein.


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