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| must 6e introduced, and both are to be expressed and treat| . ed according to their nature and dignity. The fublime style has the property of expresting lofty ideas in a lofty language; that is to fay, with words that are sonorous and majestic, and fuitable to the grandeur of the fubjećt.
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
Up he rode, Follow'd with acclamation and the found Symphonious of ten thousand harps that tun'd Angelic harmonies : the earth, the air Refounding ; (thou remember’st, for thou heard'st) The heav'ns and all the constellations rung, The planets in their station list’ning stood, i While the bright pomp ascended jubilant. | Open ye everlasting gates, they fung, Open, ye heav'ns, your living doors, let in The great Creator from his work return'd Magnificent, his fix days work, a world. MI L ToN.
This description of the Mefiah is to be admired for the fublimity of the thoughts, as well as for that of the style ; as indeed is the following description of a tempest by Mr. Thom/on. -
’Tis dumb amaze, and lift'ning terror all ;
More examples may be feen under the article of Sublime Thoughts. The sublime style is ever bold and figurative, and abounds more especially with metaphors and hyperboles, the free use of which requires great care and judgment ; fince without it there is danger of running into bombaft, that is generally made up of empty founding words, or unnatural fentences ; absurd methaphors, or extravagant and rash hyperboles. This caution is necessary, and should be ever in the poet's mind ; yet, where the thought is great and noble, a bold and judicious incorrećtness, as Longinus has observed, may be dispensed with, and will often seem rather a beauty than a blemish. The fublime poet, fired with his subjećt, and borne away on the wings of fancy, difdains accuracy, and looks down with contempt on little rules–Laws are, as it were, insufficient to restrain his boundless mind, which, having expatiated and ranfacked the whole universe, foars into other worlds, and is only lost in infinity.
Great wits fometimes may gloriously offend,
We are to observe likewife, that though the fublime fiyle is bold and figurative, sublime thoughts may fometimes require only a plain and fimple style, and may even by fuch contrast appear the more obvious and extraordi
nary. Many passages of this kind we have in the facred
Writings ; and one which is particularly applauded as a true
instance of fublimity by the great Longizus. And God said,
Let there be light, and there was light. This, as that great critic observes, expresses the power of the Almighty more forcibly and fully than could have been done with a parade of Pompous exprestions. D
“ And Godfaid,–What ?–Let there be light, and there swas light.” Such is the amazing power of the great Creator, that (as the Psalmist in the fame plain yet fublime manner observes) He spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast.
Thus we fee that fublime thoughts may fometimes ap
pear to advantage in a common style. But the reverse
will by no means hold; for words can have neither beauty nor fublimity, unless the thoughts have both. The fublime style therefore will no more fuit common thoughts, than an embroider’d coat would a clown ; for here ornaments are unnatural, nor indeed are mean and trivial thoughts ever thus drefied by good authors, unless it be in works of the burlesque and doggrel kind, to heighten the ridicule. Sublime and beautiful thoughts, however, require in general words of the fame nature, and would often feem mean and contemptible without them. For ornaments properly placed add a beauty to the most beautiful : And kings, however nature may have formed them for majesty, appear to most advantage when arrayed with the imperial robes. This style is mostly employed in the epic poem, tragedy, and the ode. Though, as we have already observed, the elegy, fatire, pastoral, and other poems, may partake of it occasionally. For no particular rule can be laid down for its use, but a strići observance of nature. In direćt opposition to this is the plain or humble style, the elegance of which depends on the propriety of its application ; and it is properly applied in describing in a familiar and easy manner the common concerns of life.
Whence is it, Sir, that none contented lives
When early clients thunder at the gate,
This style, though intended to express common things in a common manner, may fometimes be more courtly, and admit of compliment.
If virtue's felf were lost, we might
- WALLE R.
This style agrees with comedy, fatires, pastorals and epifiles, and occasionally fills up the narration and under parts of other poems. - * * But the young student is here to be cautioned against defcending too low ; elegance is to be preserved in every part of composition, and where propriety of charaćter does not demand vulgar expressions, they are always to be avoided. Between these, as a partition which ferves to feparate and yet at the fame time unite the other two, is the mediate or middle style; which is fuitable to every species of poetry, as it admits of ornament fufficient to distinguish it from the plain and humble, and yet is not animated enough to approach the fublime. Take an example from Otway.
Wish'd morning’s come ! and now upon the plains
The chearful birds too, on the tops of trees,
- There is also a species of style called the farcastical or invective, which is peculiar to the fatire and the epigram ; and when style abounds with figurative expressions, as the epic poem and fublimer ode more particularly do, we call it the florid style.
A style is also faid to be concife or diffuse, eafy or strong, clear or obscure, brisk or flow, sweet, soft and fluent, or rough and unpleasant ; all which are too obvious to need any explication. Abundant instances of these are to be found in our poets, and they are all (except the obfcure) proper or improper, according to the nature and fubjećt of the poem in which they appear; but obscurity is never to be admitted; for as the style that is clear is feldom faulty, the obscure and uncouth will always be fo, and, after perplexing the mind of the reader, leave him diflatisfied.
The rough style, however disagreeable it may be when improperly applied, enters with grace into feveral of the fpecies of poetry, but especially into the epic poem and
the tragedy ; for where things rude and horrible are to be
exprefied, such words must be used as will represent all their difagreeable and dreadful circumstances. The rough ftyle therefore appears often with majesty and grandeur in the epic and tragedy ; where we find it frequently heightened by our best poets with a few antiquated words, which they apprehend adds a dignity and folemnity to the style ; but great judgment is here required ; none but a masterly hand should make these bold attempts ; for if too many obfolete terms are admitted, or improperly placed, instead of dignity and folemnity, dulnefs and obscurity will succeed. : But here we are to observe, that the pastions have a style in a manner peculiar to themfelves ; for fometimes the pathetic, and even the fublime (especially when united with pity and terror) is more emphatically expressed by a feafonable filence, or a few plain words, than by a number of pompous periods. We shall give one instance out of a mul: titude in Shakespear. After a quarrel between Brutus and Caffius, in which the justice and generous resentment of
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