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The noisy culverin o'ercharg'd lets fly,
5. If an Hyperbole is too high, it may be qualified by some such insertions, as, Methinks, it seemed, it looked like, if I may so say, or if I may be permitted, or some such cautionary expressions t. Thus Lucius Florus says, “ that “ the ships were built with such dispatch in the “ second Punic war, that it seemed as if they
were not made by men, but that the trees “ were converted into ships by the Gods 1." Mr Cowley softens the Hyperbole, when, describing the Giant GOLIATH, he says,
The • Lord LANSDOWNE's Elay upon unnatural Flights in Poetry. See his Works, vol. i. p. 90.
+ Et fi quid periculofius, finxiffe videmur, quibusdam re. mediis præmuniendum eft ; ut ita dicam, fi licet dicere, quod ammodo, permitte mihi fic. Quod idem etiam in iis quæ li. centiùs translata erunt, proderit, quæ non tutò dici poffunt. In quo non falli judicium noftrum, solicitudine ipsa manifeftum erit. Qua de re Græcum erit illud elegantiffimum, quo præcipitur ita, προεπιπλήσσειν τη υπερβολη. QUINTIL. ib. viii. cap. 3. 3
Atque etiam fi vereare, ne paulo durior translatio efle vide. atur, mollienda est proposito sæpe verbo ; ut fi olim M. Ca. tone mortuo, pupillum senatum quis relictum diceret, paulo durius; fin, ut ita dicam, pupillum, aliquanto mitius est. Cicer. de Orat. lib. iii. $ 41.
# Ut non naves arte factæ, fed quodam munere Deorum in naves mutatæ arbores viderentur. Lucu FLORI, lib, ij. cap. 2.
The valley now the monster feem'd to fill,
And we methought look'd up t' him from our hill *. And Mr WALLER gives us an example of the same kind in his description of a Whale:
Their fix'd javelins in her sides she wears,
The advantage arising from these cautionary expressions, is, that the speaker cannot be accused of a want of understanding, when he makes use of an Hyperbole beyond the limits usually granted to such a Trope ; because, before he introduces it, he intimates his apprehension of its excess by a kind of jealousy concerning its approbation. And this caution is a sort of pafsport for the Hyperbole, for by making an apology for an expression before you utter it, you prepare the hearers for a reception of what may appear too marvellous, and too nearly the romantic, provided at the same time, according to what we but now observed, there is but the least degree of truth or resemblance at bottom; but where these are absolutely wanting, there is a dismal vacuity of sense, notwithstanding the greatest pomp of expression, and every device that can possibly be practised. But I cannot say any thing more suitable on this point, than what Dr TRAPP has said before me. (We are not de
"viating, Davideis, book ii. + Waller's Battle of the Summer-Ylands,
“ viating, says he, from the right rule of think“ ing in Metaphors, Hyperboles, Ironies, nor “ even in equivocal speeches, nor fancies, nor
poetical fables, when they are properly used s. « for there is a wide difference between falfhood “and fiction, between that which is really false, “ if I may so speak, and that which has only the " appearance of what is false. Right reason is “ laid as the foundation of just Tropes and Fic« tions.' Truth sustains the apparent falsity ; “ which is so far from destroying, that it adorns " the truth *
$ 6. If you make use of more than one Hyperbole in a sentence, as sometimes there may be grace and propriety in an assemblage of them, take care that they rise and strengthen upon one another ; for otherwise, when you have raised the hearer's expectations, you will disappoint them with a very disgustful defect, and poverty of idea, and this too in a Trope that should be peculiarly strong and animated. Falls are never fo great and dangerous as those from an uncommon height. For instance, how mean had it
* Nec Metaphoris, Hyperbolis, Ironicis, imo vel æqui. vocis locutionibus recte usurpatis, neque etiam commentis & fabulis poeticis, a recta cogitandi norma aberratur. Inter fallitatem enim & fi&tionem, inter id quod verè falfum eft (fi ita loqui diceat) & id quod falfi tantum fpeciem induit, per multum interest. Tropis istis & fictionibus recta ratio, tanquam fundamentum, fubfternitur ; veritate fuftinetur apparens iiła falfitas ; quæ veritatem exornat, non deftruit. TRAPPI Præleet. Poetic. vol. i. p. 184..
been in HORACE, if he had said that care flew fwifter than the winds, or the stag, or could even keep pace with the horse on full speed ? but how do the ideas rise upon the mind, and gradually augment the velocity of that distressing passion which he describes, when he says !
Care climbs the vefiel's brazen prow,
Sits faft upon the racer’s steed;
And leaves behind the whirlwind's speed *.
rybdis, do I fay? which, if there was such a « monster, was only a single animal. Even the
ocean itself, believe me, seems scarce capa« ble in so little a time to ingulph such a « quantity of riches, fo variously dispersed, and “ at such distant places, as ANTONY has 66 done t.”
* Scandit äratas vitiosa naves
Cura ; nec turmas equitum relinquit,
Horat. Od. lib. ii. od. 16. + Quæ Charybdis tam vorax ? Charybdin, dico ? quæ î fuit, fuit animal unum. Oceanus, medius fidius, vix vide. tur tot res, tam dilipatas, tam diftantibus in locis pofitas, tam cito absorbere potuifle. CICER. Phil. ii. $ 27.
The CATACHRESIS considered.
§ 1. A Catachress, its definition. § 2. Upon
what accounts Catachreses are used, or the occa. fions of them. § 3. When they become faulty. § 4. Mr BLACKWALL's account of the analogy and relation between the several kinds of Tropes. $. 5. VIDA's fine account of the Tropes.
$1. A Catachrefis * is the most licentious as
to language of all the Tropes, as it borrows the name of one thing to express another, which has either no proper name of its own; or if it has, the borrowed name is used either for surprising by novelty, or for the sake of a bold and daring energy.
$ 2. (1) A Catachresis borrows the name of one thing to express another, which has no proper name of its own. Thus Quintilian allows us to say, that we dart a ball or a stake, though darting belongs only to a javelin. In the same manner he permits us to call that a
* From xataxga odat, I abuse.