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Thou ever young, fresh, lov’d, and delicate wooer,
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian's lap! thou vilble god,
That folder'st clofe impossibilities,
And mak'it them kiss; that speak'st with every tongue,
To every purpofe! oh thou touch of hearts,
Think, thy flave man rebels; and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire ! ---&c. &c.

Timon of Athens,

I cannot dismiss these remarks respecting the beauty of his style, without noticing the astonishing variety and richness of his imagery. He is the most figurative writer, Ollian perhaps excepted, in our language ; yet his fimilies and metaphors are chosen with such exquisite propriety, and so happily adapted to the disposition, situation, and circumstances, of the different speakers, that his style very rarely appears stiff, or laboured, or affected; and if he is ever justly chargeable with those faults, they muchoftener arise from violent ellipfes and inversions of language, from licentious modes of expression, and words used in anomalous fenses, than from the improper or injudicious use of metaphorical ornament. I do not mean however to affert, that throughout the entire extent of his voluminous productions, are not to be found a


considerable number of indefensible images, and even of ridiculous conceits; but I affirm, that they bear a very small proportion to those passages in which the happiest use is made of this liberty; and “ the poet's eye, in a. fine frenzy rolling," seems to

glance glance from heaven to earth in search of objects, from whence to borrow apt and suitable allusions to grace and dignify his page. .

His images are indeed taken from a most comprehensive survey of the works of nature and of art, and the knowledge he displays is so various and extensive, that it cannot but raise astonishment, how in the course of a life, the early part of which appears to have been wasted in idleness and dissipation, and the rest devoted to the duties of his profession as an actor, manager, and author, he could find op, portunities to amass such inexhaustible stores of mental treasure. The first act of Hamlet alone will furnish a sufficient number of examples, to show the exquisite judgment and taste which Shakespeare exhibits in the choice and application of his metaphors,

-Look, the morn, in ruffet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill.

Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent; tho' sweet, not lasting,

The charieft maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon :
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes :
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their blofsoms are disclos'd,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blaftments are most imminent,

Oph. I Mall th' effects of this good leffon keep,
As watchmen to my heart : but, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,


Shew me the steep and thorny way to heaven ;
Whilft, like a puft and careless libertine, .
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own read.

-My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.

I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself at ease on Lethe's wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this.&c. &c.

The last particular which I shall insist upon, as one of the principal characteristics of this great poet, is the unrivalled skill or rather felicity of his versification ; for, though nothing can appear less the effect of care and study, never did any author so happily express, and in such a variety of instances, that curious correspondence between sense and found in which its grand excellence consists; his cadences are sometimes so melodious and grateful to the ear, that they may be compared to the soft and mellifluous breathings of a flute; and at other times so full and powerful, as to resemble the animating sounds of the trumpet : every passion and affection of the mind assumes that precise tone which is peculiarly suitable to it ; and the accents of grief, rage, love, pity, indignation, and despair, are scarcely to be distinguished with less ease and certainty by the various flow of the numbers, than the precise fense of the passages from the words. If this has the air of hyperbole and extravagance, I can only say, that though the admirers of this poet have perhaps been too forward to defend or extenuate his faults: in speaking of his characteristic excellencies and beauties, I really think it is almost. impossible to be guilty of excess in our applause : there appears even something almost fupernatural in the genius of this man ; something to which the rest of mankind bear neither relation nor resemblance. But it may be proper to subjoin a few specimens of the curious felicity in his versification, which I have been remarking upon, and which may serve at once as illustrations and proofs of what I have advanced. How flow and mournful the movement of the following lines !.


: Conft. What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?
Why dost thou look so sadly on my fon?
What means that hand upon that breast of thine?
Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum?
Be these fad fighs confirmers of thy words ? &c.

King John.
How striking the transition to the language of
fury and revenge!
Arm, arm, ye heavens ! against these perjur'd kings !

Hear me, oh, hear me !
Oh, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
Then with my passion would I shake the world, &c.

Ibid. One would imagine Shakespeare was describing, in these charming lines, the very effect which they are made to produce.

"That strain again ; it had a dying fall :
Oh, it came o'er my ear like the tweet fouth,


That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing, and giving odour. Twelfth Night. But in what bold and sounding language are the grand and magnificent ideas expresfed, which are conveyed in the following lines :

Ye elves of hills, &c.—by whose aid
(Weak masters though ye be) I have bedimn.
The noon-tide sun, call’d forth the mutinous winds,
And 'twixt the green fea and the azur'd vault
Set roaring war : to the dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt: the strong bas’d promontory
Have I made shake; and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine and cedar.

The Tempest. It seems to me scarcely poslible to pronounce the following line and a half in a tone of voice much above a whisper :

Pray you, tread softly, that the blind mole may not Hear a foot fall.



gay and pleasing the turn of the verse when Romeo's dreams <

presage fome joyful news at hand :"

My bosom's lord sits lightly on his throne ;
And, all this day, an unaccustomed spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.

How soft and tender the accents of love in this and a thousand other pafiages : -Oh hear me breath


Before this ancient Sir, who, it should feem,
Hath sometime lov’d. I take thy hand, this hand
As foft as dove's down, and as white as it,


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