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And lo! where, raving o'er a hollow course,
- Thalaba, 7: Southey. The following description, similar in general character, is more interesting, because it is more specific and shorter:
Onward amid the copse 'gan peep,
-Lady of the Lake, I : Scott. But this is still more interesting, because it represents action that is closely connected with the plot.
Then did Apollo and the god of sea
.. nine days against the wall
The rampart; and the god who shakes the earth,
-Iliad, 12: Bryant's Trs. The principles that apply to these representations of persons and scenes in nature, apply also to conversations in dramatic poems. All lengthy descriptions or declamatory passages that have nothing to do directly with giving definiteness, character, and progress to the plot, detract from the interest of the poem, considered as a whole. The effect of these things upon the form is the same as that of rubbish thrown into the current of a stream-it impedes the movement, and renders the water less transparent. This is the chief reason why the works of the dramatists of the age of the history of our literature commonly called classical, like Dryden, Addison, Rowe, Home, and Brooke, notwithstanding much that is excellent in their writings, have not been able to maintain their popularity. Ordinary audiences do not go to the theatre to be preached at in this style:
These are all virtues of a meaner rank-
-Cato, 1, 4: Addison.
Some may suppose that the chief reason why such passages as these, and those quoted from Southey, are not popular, is because they manifest so few evidences of the work of constructive imagination, by which is meant mainly that they contain so little figurative language.
Yet, we have seen that some of Homer's descriptions are equally lacking in figures. It is not merely this that renders a description inartistic. It is its failure to be truly representative. For this reason the mere addition to it of figurative language would not remedy its defects.
This fact, however, will be considered at full in other chapters. The present chapter will be closed with a few quotations exemplifying, beyond what has been done in the preceding passages, how Homer carries the principles now under consideration into his illustrative representation. In the descriptions used in order to exemplify the main thought in the following, will be found the same characteristics as in those making up the main thought in most of the preceding quotations. It will be noticed that the items forming the features of every separate figure, mentioned for the sake of comparison, are presented in the same mental, fragmentary, specific, typical and progressive way with which we may now be supposed to have become familiar.
The hero was aroused
Through the serried lines
Resisted, like a rock that huge and high
--Iliad, 15: Bryant's Trs.
-Iliad, 5: Idem All the Greeks Meanwhile came thronging to the appointed place. As swarming forth from cells within the rock, Coming and coming still the tribe of bees Fly in a cluster o'er the flowers of spring, And some are darting out from right to left. So from the ships and tents a multitude Along the spacious beach in mighty throngs Moved toward the assembly.
-Iliad, 2 : Idem.
ALLOYED REPRESENTATION: ITS GENESIS.
Alloy introduces Unpoetic Elements into Verse—All Classic Representation
Pure-Tendencies in Poetic Composition leading to Alloyed Representation-In Direct Representation-In Illustrative RepresentationLawful to enlarge by Illustrations an Idea Great and Complex or Small and Simple-Descriptions of a Meal—Sunset—Peasant-Sailor-How these Tendencies may introduce Alloy that does not represent-Exaggerations in Love-Scenes-In Descriptions of Natural Scenery, etc.In Allegorical Poems and Sensational Plays.
E will examine now the form of representation
which, in contrast to pure, has been termed alloyed. This latter, as has been said, while following in the main the methods of picturing the thoughts that are used in pure representation, always introduces something into the picture in addition to what would naturally be perceived in connection with circumstances like those that are being detailed. At first thought, it might be supposed that these additions would not greatly impair the poetry in which we find them. But the fallacy of this supposition will appear, when we recall that poetry is an art, and that all art is representative. It follows from this that the purer the representation, the purer will be the art, and in the degree in which any thing is added to the representation,-any thing, that is, of such a nature that in like circumstances it could not presumably