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fame paffage: Aliena negotia centum 66 per caput et centum faliunc latus. A ** hundred businesses of other men fly con
s tinually about his head and ears, and **** ftrike him in the face ţike Dorres." Difc.
of Liberty. And still more clearly from Mr. Pope's,
"A hundred other men's affairs, L'« Like bees, are humming in my ears,"
Learned writers of quick parts abound in these delicate allusions. It makes a principal part of modern elegancy to glance in this oblique manner at well-known pal.sages in the classics. .,
XV. I will trouble you with but one more note of imitated expresion, and it shall be the very reverse of the laft. When the passages glanced at are not familiar, the expression is frequently minute and circumstantial, corresponding to the original in the order, turn, and almoft number of the words. . The reasons are, that, the imitated passage not being known, the imitator may give it, as he finds it, with safety, or at least without offences and that,
besides, the force and beauty of it would escape us in a brief and general allusion. The following are instances : 1. “Man never is, but always to be blest.”
Essay on Man, Ep. I. ver. 69. from Manilius,
Vi&turos agimus semper, nec vivimus unquain,
. : MILTON, P. L. 1. ver. 66, from Euripdes in the Troad. ver. 676.
-%d", &' wãos reítélce Beolvas, ZÚVesivazis
3. But above all, that in Jonson's Catiline,
to . . . ,
“He shall die: 66 Shall was too slowly said : He's dying: That “ Is still too slow: He’s dead." from Seneca's Hercules furens, A. III. .
« Lycus Creonti debitas poenas dabit:' .';'
“ Lentum eft, dabit; dat: hoc quoque eft . “ lentum; dedit.”. . . :
You have now, Sir, before you a specimen of those rules, which I have fancied might be fairly applied to the discovery of imitations, both in regard to the sense and
EXPRESSION of great writers. I would not pretend that the same stress is to be laid on all; but there may be soinething, at least, worth attending to in every one of them. It were easy, perhaps, to enumerate still more, and to illustrate these I have given with more agreeable citations. Yet I have spared you the disgust of considering those vulgar passages, which every body recollects and sets down for acknowledged imitations. And these I have used are taken from the most celebrated of the antient and modern, writers. You may observe indeed that I have chiefly , drawn from our own poets; which I did, not merely because I know you despise the pedantry of confining one's self to learned quotations, but because I think we are bet- ter able to discern those. circumstances, which betray an imitation, in our own. language than in any other. Amongst other reasons, an identity of words and phrases, upon which so much“ depends, especially in the article of expresion, is only to be had in the same language. And you are not to be told with how much more
certainty we determine of the degree of evidence, which such' identity affords for this purpose, in a language we speak, than in one which we only lífp or spell.
But you will helt underftand óf what importance this affair of expreffion is to the discovery of imitations, By considering how seldom we are able to fix an imitation on Shakespeare: The reason is, not that there are not numberless passages in Kim very like to others in approved authors, or that he had not read enough to give us a? fair hold of him'; but that his'exprefflon is. so totally his own, that he almoft always fets *** us at defiance.
You will ask me, perhaps, now I am on this* fubject, how it happened that Shake speare'ši" language is every where so muchihis own'as to secure kis imitations, if they were such, from discovery, when I pro- * nounce with such assurance of those of our ** other poets? The answer is given for me in the Preface to Mr. Theobal's Shake speare ; though the obfervation, I think, istoo good to come from that critic. It is, that, though his words, agreeably to the
state of the Englith tongue at that ticho
I might indulge in other reflexions, and