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the success of it will reward him for up the life and remains of his deceased the trouble with which he has drawn friend.
Art. XXXII. Leatures on Rhetoric and the Belles Lettres. By Hugh Blair, D. D. one of the Ministers of the High Church, and Profiler of Rbetoric and Belles Lettres int he University of Edinburgh. 400. 2 Vols. Cadell, Creech, &c.
Continued from page 435.) WE followed our ingenious author gular advantage, writing and discourse through the first four of his lectures, poffefs, that they encompass so large in our last review, we shall now con- and rich a field on all sides, and have tinue our account.
power to exhibit, in great perfection, In his fifth lecture he treats of not a single set of objects only, but beauty, and other pleasures of taste. almost the whole of those which give Beauty, he observes, next to sublimity, pleasure to taste and imagination; wheaffords the highest pleasure to the ima- ther that pleasure arise from sublimity, gination. The emotion which it raises from beauty in its different forms, from is very easily distinguished from that of design and art, froin moral sentiment, sublimnicy. It is of a calmer kind; from novelty, from harmony, from more gentle and soothing; does not wir, humour, and ridicule. To whichelevate the mind fo much, bat produces fuever of these the peculiar bent of a an agreeable ferenity. Sublimity raises person's taste lies, from some writer of a feeling too violent to be lating; other, he has it always in his power to the pleasure arising from beauty admits receive the gratification of it. of longer continuance. It extends also “Now this high power which elo. to a much greater variety of objects quence and poetry possess, of supplythan sublimity; to a variety indeed fo ing taste and imagination with such a great, that the feelings which beauti- wide circle of pleasures, they derive ful objects produce ditter considerably, altogether from their having a greater not in degree only, but also in kind, capacity of imitation and description from one another.
than is pofleffed by any other art. Of The Doctor proceeds to enumerate all the means which human ingenuity feveral of those classes of objects in has contrived, for recalling the images which beauty moft remarkably appears, of real objects, and awakening, by reand to point out, as far as he can, the presentation, similar emotions to those . feparate principles of beauty in each of which are raised by the original, nont them. He considers colour, figure, is so full and extensive as that which is motion, the beauty of the human coun- is executed by words and writing. tenance, and that arising from fitness Through the affiftance of this happy and design, &c. and then goes on to invention, there is nothing, either in the confideration of several other prin- the natural or moral world, but what ciples, from which objects derive their can be represented and set before che power of delighting the imagination, mind, in colours very strong and lively. such as novelty, imitation, melody, Hence it is usual among critical writers, harmony, &c. He concludes the Lec. to speak of discourse, as the chief of ture in the following manner :
all the imitative or mimetic arts; they “ At prefent it is not necessary to compare it with painting and with pursue any farther the subject of the sculpture, and in many respects prefer pleasures of Tatte. I have opened it juftly before them. fome of the general principles; it is
* This style was first introduced by time now to make the application to Aristotle in his poetics; and since his our chief fubject. If the question be time, has acquired a general currency put, to what class of those pleasures of among modern authors. But, as it is taste which I have enumerated, thac of consequence to introduce as much pleasure is to be referred, which we precision as possible into critical lan. receive from poetry, eloquence, or guage, I must observe, that this manfine writing? My answer is, not to ner of speaking is not accurate. Neiany one, but to them all. This lisae ther discourse in general, nor poetry in Lond. Mag. Dec, 1783.
particular, can be called altogether representation of a battle on the stage, imitative arts. We must distinguish but would never apprehend that it betwixt imitation and description, meant one of Homer's descriptions in 'which are ideas that should not be the Iliad. I admit, at the same time, confounded.' Imitation is performed that imitation and description agree in by means of somewhat that has a na- , their principal effect, of recalling, by tural likeness and resemblance to the external signs, the ideas of things which thing imitated, and of confequence is we do not fee. But though in this understood by a'l; such are statues and they coincide, yet it should not be pictures. Description, again, is the forgotten, that the terms themselves raising in the mind the conception of are not synonymous; that they import an object by means of some arbitrary different means of effecting the same or inttituted fymbols, understood end; and of course make different imonly by those who agree in the pressions on the mind*. institution of thein; such are words " Whether we consider poetry in and writing. Words have no natural particular, and discourse in general, as Tesemblance to the ideas or objects imitative or descriptive; it is evident, which they are employed to signify; that their whole power, in recalling but a fatue or a picture has a natural the impressions of real objects, is de likeness to the original. And, there- rived from the significancy of words. fore,imitation and description differcon. As their excellency flows altogether liderably in their nature from each other. from this source, we must, in order to
“ As far, indeed, as a poet or historian make way for further enquiries, begin introduces into his work persons at this fountain head. I Mall, there, actually speaking; and, by the words fore, in the next lecture, enter upoa which he pots into their mouths, re- the confideration of language: of the presents the discourse which they miglit origin, the progress, and construction of be supposed to hold; fo far his art which, I purpose to treat at some length.” may more accurately be called imita
In the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Lective: and this is the case in all dra
tures, our author gives a history of 'matic c inpofition. But in narrative the rise and progress of language in or descriptive works, it can with no fereral particulars, from its early to propriety be called fo: Who, for in- its more advanced periods, together Stance, would call Virgil's defcription with a similar history of the rise and of a tempeft, in the first Æneid, in progress of writing some account of imitation of a storm? If we heard of the construction of language, or the the imitation of a battle, we might principles of universal grammar, and naturally think of some mock fight, or an application of his observations more particularly to the English tongue.- but some other which only resembles, These are curious and instructive sub- or is akin to it; or they may express jects, and treated with great perspi- that idea, but not quite fully and comcuity and distinctness. What is said pletely; or, they may express it, tor' on the general conftruction of language gether with something more than he will appear to many readers dry and intends. Precision stands opposed to intricate; it is, however, of great iin- all these three faults; but chiefly to the portance, and very nearly connected lat. In an author's writing with prowith the philosophy of the human priety, his being free of the two former mind. For, if speech be the vehicle, faults seem implied. The words which or interpreter of the conceptions of our he uses are proper; that is, they express minds, an examination of its structure that idea which he intends, and they and progress, as Dr. Blair observes exprefs it fully; but to be precisc, figcannot but unfold many things con- nities, that they exprefs that idea, and cerning the nature and progress of our no more. There is nothing in his conceptions themselves, and the ope- words which introduces any foreign rations of our faculties; a subject that idea, any. fuperfluous unfeasonable acis always instructive to man.
particularly * Though, in the execution of particular parts, poetry is certainly descriptive rather than imi. tative, yer there is a qualitied tense in which poetry, in the general, may be termed an imitative art. The lubject of the poet (as Dr. Gerard has thown in the Appendix to his Eilay on Tarte) is inteuded to be an imitation, not of things really existing, but of the course of nature; that is, a . teigred representation of such events, or such scenes, as ihough they never had a being, yet might have exiited; and which, therefore, by their probability, bear a resemblance to nature. probably, in this fenfe, that Aristotle termed poetry a mimetic art. How far either the imitatinn or the description which poetry employs, is fuperior to the imitative powers of painting and music, is well shown by Mr. Harris, in his Treatise on Music, Painting, and Poetry. The chief advantage which poetry or discourse in general enjoys is, that whereas, by the nature of his art, the painter is confined to the representation of a single moment, writing and discourse can trace a transaction through its whole progress. That moment, indeed, which the painter pitches upon for the fubject of his picture, he may be said to exhibit with more advantage than the poet or the orator; mifmuch as he rits before w, in one view, all the minute concurrent circumstances of the event which happen in one individual point of time, as they arrear in nature; while discourse is obliged to exhibit then in succeition, and by means of a detail, which is in danger of becoming tedious, in order to be clear; or if not tedious, is in danger of being obscure. But to that point of time which he has choler, the painter being entrely contined, he cannot exhibit various stages of the same action or event; and hic is subject to this toucher detect, that he can only exbibit objects as they appear to the eye, and can very impertecily delineate churaciers and scrutiments, which are the nobicit Lubjects of imitation or deicriprion. The power of representing theic with full advantage gives a brigh lueriority . dilcours and writing above and other iinitasive arts.
cesory, so as to inix it confusedly with Having finished the subject of lan- the principal object, and thereby to guage, he now enters on the confide- render our conception of that object ration of style, and the rules that re- loose and indistinct. This requires a Jate to it. All the qualities of a good writer to have, himfelf, a very clear ftyle may be ranged, he says, under apprehension of the object he means to two hcads, perfpicuity and ornamento present to us; to have laid fast hold of The study of perspicuity requires at- it in his mind; and never to waver in tention, first, to single words and any one view he takes of it: a perphrases, and then to the construction fection to which, indeed, few writers of sentences. Perspicuity, considered attain. with respect to words and phrases, re
" The use and importance of prequires these three qualities in them, cision, may be deduced from the nature purity, propriety, and precision.
of the human mind. It never can view, As precision in language is the high- clearly and distinctly, above one object est part of the quality denoted by per- at a time. If it mart look at two or fpicuity, and as diftinct ideas are not three together, especially objects among commonly formed about it, our author which there is resemblance or conbeftows a full explication of it. nection, it finds itself confused and
“ The exact import of preciwon (says embarrassed. It cannot clearly perceive he) may be drawn from the etymology in what they agree, and in what they of the word. It comes from preci- differ. Thus, were any object, fuppole dere,' to cut off: it imports retrenching some animal, to be presented to me, of all fuperfluities, and pruning the ex- whose structure I wanted to forin a preslion fo, as to exhibit neither more distinct notion, I would desire all its nor less than the exact copy of his trappings to be taken off, I would reidea who uses it. I observed before, quire it to be brought before me by that it is often difficult to separate the itself, and to stand alone, that there qualities of style from the qualities of might be nothing to distract my attenthought; and it is found to in this tion. The same is the case with words, instance. For, in order to write with If, when you would inform me of your precision, though this be properly a meaning, you also tell me more than quality of style, one must polless a very what conveys it; if you join foreign considerable degree of distinctness and circumstances to the principal object; accuracy in his manner of thinking. if, by unnecessarily varying the expres.
“ The words which a man ufes to fion, you life the point of view, and express his ideas, may be faulty in three make me fee sometimes the object itrespects: they may either not express self, and sometimes another thing that that idea which the author intenda, is connecled with it; you thereby oblige
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me to look on several objects at once, and general; and, therefore, cannot be and I lose fight of the principal. You expressed with precision. All subjects load the animal you are showing me do not equally require precision. It with so many trappings and collars, is sufficient, on many occasions, thas and bring so many of the fame species we have a general view of the meanbefore me, somewhat resembling, and ing. The subject, perhaps, is of the yet
somewhat differing, that I see nonc known and familiar kind; and we are of them clearly.
in no hazard of mistaking the sense of “ Z his forms what is called a loose the author, though every word which style; and is the proper opposite to he uses be not precise and exact. precision. It generally arifes from “ Few authors, for instance, in the using a fuperfluity of words. Feeble English language, are more clear and writers employ a multitude of words peripicuous, on the whole, than Archto make themselves understood, as they bimop Tillotson, and Sir William think, more distinctly; and they only Temple; yet neither of them are reconfound the reader.” They are sensi markodle for precision. They are ble of not having caught the precise loose and diffuse; and accuftoined to expression, to convey what they would express their meaning by several words, fignify; they do not, indeed, con- which shew you fully whereabous it ceive their own meaning very precisely lies, rather than to single out those exthemselves; and, therefore, help, it pretlions which would coniey clearly out, as they can, by this and the other the idea they have in view, and no word, which may, as they suppose, more. Neither, indeed, is precision fupply the defect, and bring you fome- the prevailing character of Mr. Addiwhat nearer to their idea: they are fon's ityle; although he is not so dealways going about it, and about it, ficient in this respect as the other two but never juft hit the thing. The authors. image, as they set it before you, is “ Lord Shaftesbury's faults, in point always feen double; and no double of precision, are much greater than image is distinct.
When an author Mr. Addison's; and the more unpartells me of his hero's courage in the day donable, because he is a professed pliof battle, the expression is precise, and losophical writer; who, as such, ought, I underitand it fully. But if, from above all things, to have studied prethe desire of multiplying words, he cision. His ityle has both great beaus will needs praise his courage and forti- ties, and great faults; and, on the tude; at the moment he joins these whole, is by no means a fafe model words together, my idea begins to for imitation. Lord Shaftesbury was
He means to express one qua- well acquainted with the power of lity more strongly; but he is, in truth, words; those which he employs are expressing two. Courage relifls danger; generally proper and well founding; be fortitude supports pain. The occalion has great variety of them; and his arof exerting each of these qualities is rangement, as thall be afterwards thown, different; and being led to think of is commonly beautiful. His defect, in both together, when only one of them precision, is not owing so much to inshould be in my view, my view is ren- diftinct or confused ideas, as to perpedered unsteady, and my conception of tual affectation. He is fond, to excels, the object indistinct.
of the pomp and parade of language; “ From what I have said, it ap- he is never satisfied with exprefling any pears that an author may, in a quali- thing clearly and fimply; he muit als fied fenfe, be perspicuous, while yet ways give it the dress of state and mahe is far from being precise. He ufes jelty. Hence perpetualcircuinlocutions, proper words, and proper arrangement; and many words and phrates en ploved he gives you the idea as clear as he to describe somewhat, that would bare conceives it himself; and fo far he is becn dcfcriled much better by cne of perspicuous: but the ideas are not very' them. If he has occasion to inention clear in his own-mind; they are loose any person or author, he very rarely
mentions him by his proper name. In the exact import of words, if ever we
his attendance on the great, as he be-
“Pride, Vanity. Pride, makes us esteem Series, is the injudicious use of those ourselves; Vanity, inakes us defire the words termed synonimous. In our eíteem of others. It was just to say, as own language, he says, very many in- Dean Swift has done, that a man is too dances might be given of a difference proud to be vain. in meaning among words reputed fy- “ Hangbrinet, Dildair. Haughtinefs, nonymous; and the subject being of is founded on the high opinion we en, importance, he points out some of tertain of ourselves; Disdain, on the them. We shall lay before our rea- low opinion we have of others. ders a few of the instances he produces; “ To distinguish, to feparete. We they will serve to thew the necessity of distinguish, what we want not to conattending, with care and Atrictness, to found with another ching; we separate