Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

1

CHAPTER XX.

The PROSOPOPEIA considered.

$ 1. The Profopopeia branched into its several kinds.

§ 2. Instances of good and bad qualities of the mind, or the passions and appetites of human nature being described as real and distinEt perfons, from SILIUS ITALICUS, OviD, SPENSER, BLACKMORE, and Milton. 3. Examples of clothing with corporeal forms, or endowing with Speech and aɛtion imaginary beings, or general notions and abstracted ideas, from Young, VIRGIL, CICERO, and MILTON.

§ 4. Ina Stances from Cicero, of persons filent introduced as Speaking, and persons deceased as persons living. : $ 5. Examples of countries, woods, rocks, rivers, temples, and other inanimate beings, afsuming the powers and properties, and expressing the motions of living, and sometimes reasonable beings, from MILTON, POPE, SPENSER, Cicero, and Virgil. $ 6. Various instances of the ProSopopeia from Scripture. $. 7. Remarks and Observations upon this Figure.

$ 1.

[ocr errors]

$1. HE Prosopopeia * is a Figure which

confifts in describing good and bad qualities of the mind, or the passions or appetites of human nature as real and distinct persons; in clothing with corporeal forms, or endowing with speech and action imaginary beings, or general notions and abstracted ideas; in introducing perfons silent as speaking, or persons deceased as living; and in making rocks, woods, rivers, temples, and other inanimate beings, assume the powers and properties, and express the emotions of living, and even reasonable creatures,

§ 2. A Profopopeia consists in describing good and bad qualities of the mind, or the passions and appetites of human nature as real and distinct persons.

Thus Virtue and Pleasure are represented by SILIUS ITALICUS as 'two females, in different appearances and of oppofite parties, courting the regards of young Scipio. Though the passage is large, yet perhaps the beauty may more than atone for its length.

In a gay bow'r, contiguous to his feat, 1. Th’ illuftrious youth beneath a laurel-shade

Reclin'd, and in his pensive breast revolv'd
.: The public weal : when, lo! before his view

In ftature far furpaffing human fize,
VIRTUE and PLEASURE from their airy tour,
Alighting stood ; one on his better hand,

The
From Eurotoy and soutw, the fiftion of a person.

[ocr errors]

The other on his left. Around the brows
OF PLEASURE aromatic odours breath'd,
In loose ambrofial ringlets wav'd her hair ;
Her vest with Tyrian purple glow'd, adorn'd
With interwoven gold, her forehead wore
A rich embroid'ry, and her roving eyes
In sudden glances thot lascivious fires.
Reverse was the appearance VIRTUE made ;
Rough was her front; her locks uncomb'd; her look
A thoughtful majesty express’d; her air
And gait were almost masculine, but mix'd
With an ingenuous modefty, and down
From her high shoulders fow'd a snowy vest.
PLEASURE the blooming stripling first accosts,
And on her proffers for success relies.

“ Whence, whence this madness, amiable youth? “ Are Canna's carnage, the ensanguin'd Po, “ And the Moonian lake, more throng'd with death « Than the black Stygian pool, are these effac'd “ From thy remembrance, that thou need'ft must tempt “ Amidst the dreadful faughter of the field « Untimely fate! Would you in peace enjoy « Atlantic kingdoms and imperial domes, « Strive not with danger, nor expose your life • To hostile weapons, and the storms of war. “ VIRTUE, that knows no mercy, will command • To mow down armies, and to rush thro’ Aames. 5. Thus to the fhade, she immaturely hurld “ Your uncle, fire, PAULUS, profuse of life, “ The Decii, and a countless train befides; ço And now she writes their names upon their urns, And builds them lofty pyramids of praise, ( While their pale ghosts, insensible of fame, “ Are wand'ring thro' the dreary realms below,

! Follow

“ Follow my better counsel, lovely youth, " Then Ihall thy lise in one soft tenor run: “ No trump shall wake thee starting from thy couch, “ No northern snows shall chill thy tender limbs, " Nor fhalt thou sweat with Cancer's raging heats, “ Nor spread thy frugal table on the grass « Distain'd with purple gore; no parching drought, “ No dust in arms, no toils with terrors mix’d, « Shall discompose thy peace; but ev'ry day, “ And ev'ry hour shall o’er thee glide serene, 66 And the soft series of my balmy joys “ Shall give the promise of extended age. « What fountains do th' indulgent Gods provide « Of pleasures streaming for the good of man, « Such as themselves poffefs, whose endless date • Is all one cloudless, unmolested peace? « I match'd Anchises with the Queen of Love, " And hence the founder of

your race arose : “ I taught the am'rous Sire of Gods and men 66 In shapes of birds and bulls to masquerade, " And to his wishes gain th' unguarded fair. " Then hear my voice : thy life is on the wing, " And when 'tis paft can be recall'd no more. " With what rapidity do months, days, hours, « Rush to oblivion ; but the memory 66 Of the full bliss with which I crown their Aight " Still lives. How many verge

of life “ Have mourn’d they drank so sparing of my joys?

She spoke, and ended her melliAuent lore. Next VIRTUE. " What, shall meretricious arts " Seduce a blooming youth to guilt and shame, « With reason by the Deities endow'd, " And the celestial seeds of pow'rs divine ? « As much as Gods surpass the human race,

« Sa

on the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

< So much the human race surpasses brutes.
“ The truly virtuous are by nature form’d
“ Divinities, t'adorn and bless mankind;
“ But minds in sensuality immers’d,

By an irrevocable law are doom'd " To hell, to horrors, and to endless night. « Souls, conscious of their origin divine, “ And acting worthy their etherial birth, « Enter the gates of heav'n expanded wide “ For their admissions when they quit their clay. “Why should I tell how Hercules subdu'd " Each foe, each danger that withstood his course? " Or how great Bacchus, loaden with the fpoils, " Grasping the standards of the vanquish'd eaft, c Rode thro’the towns in his triumphal car

Drawn by his tigers, bent beneath his yoke ? « Or why should I relate the brave exploits, “ The high rewards of LEDA’s famous twins, “ Invok'd as Gods by failors in distress, 6 Toss’d by the mountain-furges of the main? 46 Or shall I set your ROMULUS in view, 66 Who’scap'd the lot of mortals, and uploar'd « On his own merits to the bless'd abodes? “ How has th' almighty Artist fashion'd man “ With an erected shape, and brow fublime, " To view and comprehend his native skies? “ While birds and beafts, and monsters of the wood,

Grov'ling and prone, pore ever on the ground, « Nor lanch one wish, one thought to realms on high. “ If you improve the favours of the Gods, • Soon shall you mount upon the wings of fame, " The admiration and the praise of all. « Reflect with me upon the rise of Rome : " So weak at first she wanted pow'r to crush

66 Fidena,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »