« ZurückWeiter »
But of this sort of delicate thoughts, enough may be seen in the passages we have extracted from Milton, who abounds with every kind of beauty.
One true characteristic of delicate thoughts (especially of those first mentioned) is, that they are not capable of being translated out of one language into another, without losing great part of their true spirit or essential quality. And this is the cafe also with what we call true humour, which is like those delicate flowers that will lose their beauty, if not their being, when tranfplanted into a foreign climate..
The inimitable character Shakespear has drawn of Falftaff, might be understood perhaps in any other language, but would fail of the effect it has in the original ; as would the defcription Butler has given us of Honour, and many other parts of his celebrated poem, ili sering
and broken sentences; and, even when nature is thus difturbed and agitated, a seeming incoherence may be par. donable ; but studied decorations can never be admitted.
There is another fault which young people are mighty apt to give into, and that is what may be called, running down a thought. When they have started a thought which is in itself beautiful, and would dignify their work, they never know when to part with it, but keep tricking it up till they have turned the fine gentleman into a fop, and ren. dered that which was ineftimable, of no manner of va. lue. Seasonable silence has its emphasis. 'Tis not in these works of genius prudent to be over explicit ; for it not only borders on vanity, and carries with it a suppo. fition, that nobody can discern a beauty except yourself, but deprives the reader also of the pleasure he would otherwise have of employing his own fagacity. In short, the writer should never say so much, but that the reader may perceive he was capable of saying more ; for the hunting down a thought, and tiring the reader with a repetition of tedious particulars, is ever the mark of a little trilling genius.
And here we are also to observe, that the too frequent use of wit, or, in other words, the filling any discourse or poem with too many of those thoughts we have been de. fcribing, is not to be tolerated.
Another fault which often does befall,
So overflow that it be none at all *. A poem, like a dinner or a desert, may be made too rich, and, instead of gratifying, disguft. Poetry indeed admits of more ornament than profe ; but true taste and right reason abhors luxury in both. Befides, there are other thoughts to be introduced into every work which neither strike us with their grandeur, beauty, delicacy, or pointed wit, but which are fraught with good sense and folidity; that carry weight in their meaning, and fink deep in the understanding these, therefore, and common thoughts, are to be considered as the basis and superstructure, and the other as the ornamental parts of the work; which should not be forced in to display wit and finery, but introduced si ho do Duke of Buckingham's Ejay an Poetry.