ページの画像
PDF
ePub

ed this figure, not without warmth and dignity. Their works are exceedingly worthy of being confulted, for instances of this, and of several other ornaments of style. Indeed the vivacity and ardour of the French genius, is more suited to this bold fpecies of oratory, than to the more correct, but lefs animated genius of the British, who, in their prose works, very rarely attempt any of the hi; h figures of eloquence*. So much for perforifications or prosopopæia, in all its different forms.

In the “ Oraisons Funebres de M. Bossuet," which I consider as one of the master pieces of inodern eloquence, apoltrophes and addresles to personified objects, frequently oreur, and are supported with much spirit. Thus, for instance, in the funeral oration of Mary of Auitria, queen of France, he anthor addrefles Algiers, in the prospect of the advantage which the arms of Louis XIV, were to gain over it : “ Avant lui, la France, presque fans vaisleaux, tenoit en vain aux deux mers. Maintenant, on les voit couvertes depuis le Levan: jura qu'au couchant de nos flottes victorieules; & la hardiesle P'raniçoise port par tout la terreur avec le nom de Lonis. Tu cede. ras, tu tomberas fous ce vainqueur, Alger! riche des de pouilles de la chretienté. Tu difois en ton cæur avare, je tiens le mer fous mes loix, et les nations font ma proie. La legereté de tes vailleaux te donnoit de la confiance. Mais tu te verras attaqué dans tes murailles, comme un oiseau ravislant qu'on iroit chercher parmi les rochers, & dans son nid, où il partage fon butin a ses petits. Tu rends deja tes esclaves. Louis a brile les fers, dont tu accablois ses sujets," &c. In another paffage of the same oration; he thus apostrophizes the isle of pleafants, which had been rendered famous by being the scene of those conferences, in which the treaty of the Pyrenees between France and Spain, and the marriage of this princes with the king of France, were concluded. “ Ille pacifique, où se doivent terminer les differends de deux grands empires a qui tu sers de limites : ille eternellement memorable par les conferences de deux grands ininifters.-Auguste journée ou deux fieres nations, long tems ennemis, et alors reconciliés par Marie Therese, s'avancent sur leur confins, leur rois a leur tete, non plus pour {c combattre, mais pour s'einbrafler,--tetos facrées, mariage fortuné, voile nuptial, benediction, facrifice, puis-je meler aujourdhui vos ceremonies, et vos pompes, avec ces pompes funebres, et le comble des grandeurs avec leur ruines !". In the fmeral oration of len. ricita, queen of England (which is, perhaps, the noblest of all

Apostrophe is a figure so much of the same kind, that it will not require many words. It is an address to a real person, but one who is either absent or dead, as if he were present, and listening to us. It is so much allied to an address to inanimate objects personified, that both thesc figures are sometimes called apostrophies. However, the proper apoftrophe is in boldness one degree lower than the address to perionified objects ; for it certainly requires a leis eitort of imagination to suppose persons present who are dead or absent, than to animate insensible beings, and direct our discourse to them. Both figures are subject to the same rule of being prompted by passion, in order to render them natural ; for both are the language of passion or strong emotions only. Among the poets, apoftrophe is frequent ; as in Virgil :

-Pereunt Hypanique Damasque
Confixi a fociis'; nec te, tua plurima, Pantheu,
Labentem pietas, nec Apollinis infula texit* !

The poems of Ossian are full of the most beautiful instances of this figure : “ Weep on the rocks “ of roaring winds, O maid of Inistore ; bend thy « fair head over the waves, thou fairer than the

ghost of the hills, when it moves in a sunbeam

at noon over the silence of Morven ! he is “ fallen! thy youth is low ; pale beneath the

his compositions), after recounting all she had done to support her unfortunate husband,, he concludes with this beautiful apostrophe : “O mere ! O femme! O reine admirable, et digne d'une meilleure fortune, si les fortunes de la terre etoient quelque chose ! Enfin il faut ceder a votre fort. Vous avez alfez soutenu l'etat, qui est attaqné par une force invincible et divine. Il ne reste plus defornais, fi non que vous teniez ferme parmi fes ruines."

# Nor Pantheus ! thee, thy mitre, nor the bands Of awful Phæbus fav'd from impious hand 3.

DBYDEN. Vol. I.

2 R

“ sword of Cuchullint !!' Quintilian affords us a very fine example in profe ; when, in the beginning of his fixth book, deploring the untimely death of his son, which had happened during the course of the work, he makes a very moying and tender apostrophe to him. “ Nam quo ille animo, S6 qua medicorum admiratione, mensium o&o va66 letudinem tulit ! ut me in fupremis confolatus

est ! quam etiam jam deficiens, jamque non 6. nofter, ipfum illum alienatæ mentis errorem 46 circa folas literas habuit ! Tuofne ergo--O mea " fpes inanes ! ---labentes oculos, tuum fugientem ac fpiritum vidi ? tuum corpus frigidum, exangue, “ complexus, animam recipere, auramque com

munem haurire amplius potui ? Tene, consulari bi nuper adoptione ad omnium fpes honorum pa

tris admotum-te, avunculo prætori generum

destinatum-te, omnium spe Atticæ eloquentiæ " candidatum, parens fuperftes tantum ad pænas “ amifi* !” In this passage, Quintilian fhows the

true genius of an orator, as much as he does 6 elsewhere that of the critic.

For fuch bold figures of discourfe, as strong

# Fingal, B.J.

* " With what spirit, and how much to the admiration of the physicians did he bear, throughout eight months, his lingering distress? With what tender attention did he ftudy, even in the last extremity, to comfort me And; when no longer hinself, how affecting was it to behold the disordered efforts of his wandering mind, wholly employed on subjects of literature ? Ah! my frustrated and fallen hopes ! have ! then beheld your clofing eyes, and heard the last groan iflae from your lips ? After having embraced your cold and breathless body, bow was it in my power to draw the vital air, or continue to drag a miserable life? When I had just bebeld you raised by consular adoptiou to the prospect of all yonr father's honours-destined to be son-in-law to your uncle the prætor-pointed out by general expectation as the fuccessful candidate for the prize of Attic eloquence, in this moment of your opening honours, must I lose you forever, and remain an unhappy parent, surviving only to suffer woe?".

perfonifications, addresses to personified objects, and apostrophes, the glowing imagination of the ancient Oriental nations was particularly fitted. Hence, in the sacred fcriptures, we find some very remarkable instances : " O thou sword of the " Lord ! how long will it be ere thou be quiet ?

put thyself up into thy scabbard ; rest, and be

Itill ! How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath " given it a charge against Alt kelon, and against

the sea-shore ! there hath he' appointed it*.” There is one passage, in particular, which I must not omit to mention, because it contains a greater assemblage of sublime ideas, of bold and daring figures, than is perhaps any where to be met with. It is in the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah, where the prophet thus describes the fall of the Assyrian empire : “ thou shalt take up this proverb against the

king of Babylon, and say, how has the oppressor “ ceaied ! the golden city ceased ! the Lord hath " broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre

of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath " with a continual stroke-he that ruled the na

tions in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet : they " break forth into singing. Yea the fir-trees re

joice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming : it stirreth up

the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth : it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak, and say unto thee, art thou also become weak as we ? art thou become like unto us? thy

pomp is brought down to the grave, and the « noise of thy viols : the worm is spread upuer

Jer. xlvii. 6, 7.

CC

" thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou “ fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, fon of the

morning ! how art thou cut down to the grourd,

which didst weaken the nations ! for thou hart " said in thine heart, I will afcend into heaven ; I

will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I “ will fit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I will ascend " above the heights of the clouds ; I will be like

the most high. Yet thou shalt be brought down . e to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see

thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, is this the man that made the earth

to tremble, that did shake kingdoms ? that made " the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the

cities thereof? that opened not the house of his prisoners ? all the kings of the nations, even all of them lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave, like an abominable branch : and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go

down to the stones of the pit, as a carcafe “ trodden under feet.” This whole passage is full of fublimity. Every object is animated ; a variety of personages are introduced : we hear the Jews, the fir-trees, and cedars of Lebanon, the ghosts of departed kings, the king of Babylon himself, and those who look upon his body, all speaking in their order, and acting their different parts without confusion,

« 前へ次へ »