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CHAPTER XXIV.

EXPLANATORY ALLOY IN DIRECT REPRESENTATION.

Alloy, if carrying to Extreme the Tendency in Plain Language, becomes

Didactic; if the Tendency in Figurative Language, it becomes Ornate
-Didactic Alloy explains, and appeals to the Elaborative Faculty, not
the Imagination-Rhetoric instead of Poetry-Examples of Didactic
Alloy where Representation purports to be Direct-In Cases where the
Thought is Philosophical—How Thought of the same Kind can be Ex-
pressed Poetically-In Cases where the Thought is Picturesque, as in
Descriptions of Natural Scenery-How similar Scenes can be described
Poetically-Didactic Descriptions of Persons-Similar Representative
Descriptions-How Illustrative Representation helps the Appeal to the
Imagination-In Descriptions of Natural Scenery-Of Persons—The
Sensuous and the Sensual.

THE reader who has followed our line of thought to

this point, probably understands by this time the general nature of the difference between pure and alloyed representation. But he cannot understand the extent of the inartistic influence which the latter introduces into poetry as a representative art, until he has traced its developments a little further. That will be done for him in this and following chapters.

It has been said that whatever is added to representation of such a nature as to change it from pure to alloyed, must come from the poet. This is true, and yet he may not always be himself the primary source of these additions. He may get them either from his own mind or from nature,-a term used here to apply to every thing ex.

ternal to himself. If he get them from his own mind, he will carry into excessive development the tendency which has been termed the instinctive, underlying ejaculatory sounds and all plain language; and his product will manifest a preponderance of the features making up the thought that he desires to express. If he get his additions from nature, he will carry into excessive development the tendency, which has been termed the reflective, underlying imitative sounds and all figurative language; and his product will manifest a preponderance of the features employed in the form for the purpose of amplifying and illustrating his thought. The first tendency, carriea to an extreme, will deprive the form of representation, and make it explanatory or didactic; the second will overload it with representation, and make it florid or ornate.

Taking up these tendencies in their order, we will examine now the former of them, and first, as exemplified in poetry modelled upon direct representation. In this form, as we have seen, the poet uses no similies nor metaphors. He states precisely what he wishes to sayonly what he says, if put in the form of poetry, must represent his thought. If it merely present this, he gives us a product not of the ideal art of poetry, but of the practical art of rhetoric. This latter appeals to the mind through what Sir William Hamilton termed the elaborative faculty, and is characterized by a particularizing of details in explanatory words and clauses, termed amplification,-all of which details together enable the hearer to weigh the evidence that is offered, and to draw from it trustworthy conclusions. Poetry, on the contrary, appeals to the representative faculty, and is characterized by an absence of any more details or explanatory elements than are needed in order to form a picture, and this for the

reason that nothing appeals so strongly to the imagination as a hint. At the same time, as poetry and rhetoric both communicate ideas, there is a constant tendency for the one to pass into the other, for the poet to forget that the poetical depends not upon ideas alone, but also upon the forms given to the ideas,-in fact, to forget that, while great poetry must necessarily embody great thoughts, very genuine poetry, at times, may do no more than give to the merest “airy nothings a local habitation and a name.”

To exemplify what has been said, let us begin with some quotations from Wordsworth. They are specimens of rhetoric, pure and simple, presenting, but not in any sense representing, the thought. By consequence, they are almost wholly lacking in the suggestive and inspiring effects with which true poetry appeals to the imagination:

O for the coming of that glorious time
When, prizing knowledge as her noblest wealth
And best protection, this imperial Realm,
While she exacts allegiance, shall admit
An obligation, on her part, to teach
Them who are born to serve her and obey;
Binding herself by statute to secure
For all the children whom her soil maintains
The rudiments of letters, and inform
The mind with moral and religious truth,
Both understood and practised, --so that none,
However destitute, be left to droop,
By timely culture unsustained.

*
The discipline of slavery is unknown
Among us,-hence the more do we require
The discipline of virtue ; order else
Cannot subsist, nor confidence, nor peace.
Thus, duties rising out of good possessed,
And prudent caution needful to avert
Impending evil, equally require

That the whole people should be taught and trained.
So shall licentiousness and black resolve
Be rooted out, and virtuous habits take
Their place ; and genuine piety descend
Like an inheritance from age to age.

Vast the circumference of hope, and ye
Are at its centre, British Lawgivers ;

.. Your country must complete
Her glorious destiny. Begin even now,

Now when destruction is a prime pursuit
Show to the wretched nations for what end
The powers of civil polity were given.

-Excursion, 9. Some may suppose that the thought presented in these passages is not fitted for representation, and be inclined to justify the poet's treatment of it on this ground. The truth is, however, that there is very little thought that cannot be expressed in a representative way. As a proof of this, look at the following passages from Tennyson's Princess. They contain thoughts of essentially the same character as those from the Excursion ; yet their forms, if not always those of direct representation, are, at least, those of representation of some sort, which is the im. portant matter, just now, for us to consider.

O lift your natures up,
Embrace our aims ; work out your freedom! ..
Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed :
Drink deep, until the habits of the slave,
The sins of emptiness, gossip, and spite,
And slander die. Better not be at all
Than not be noble.

Let there be light, and there was light : 't is so :
For was, and is, and will be, are but is ;
And all creation is one act at once,
The birth of light; but we that are not all,

As parts, can see but parts, now this, now that,
And live, perforce, from thought to thought, and make
One act a phantom of succession : thus
Our weakness somewhat shapes the shadow, Time ;
But in the shadow will we work.

*

But trim our sails and let old by-gones be,
While down the stream that floats us each and all
To the issue, goes, like glittering bergs of ice,
Throne after throne, and molten on the waste
Becomes a cloud ; for all things serve their time
Toward that great year of equal mights and rights.

And knowledge in our own land make her free,
And ever following those two crowned twins,
Commerce and conquest, shower the fiery grain
Of Freedom broadcast over all that orbs
Between the Northern and the Southern morn.

- Princess : Tennyson.

In the following, also, a very similar line of thought is not merely presented or stated, but represented or pictured:

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be ;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales ;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue ;
Far along the world-wide whisper of the South wind rushing warm
With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunder-storm ;
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furled
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world ;
There the common-sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

-Locksley Hall: Tennyson.

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