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Cette pleine victoire est leur derneir ouvrage,
Pompee, Act IV. Sc. 3. The last class comprehends sentiments that are unnatural, as being suited to no character nor passion. These may be subdivided into three branches : first, sentiments unsuitable to the constitution of man, and to the laws of his nature ; second, inconsistent sentiments; third, sentiments that are pure rant and extravagance.
When the fable is of human affairs, every event, every incident, and every circumstance, ought to be natural, otherwise the imitation is imperfect. But an imperfect imitation is a venial fault, compared with that of running cross to nature. In the Hippolytus of Euripides, * Hippolytus, wishing for another self in his own situation, How much (says he) should I be touched with his misfortune! as if it were natural to grieve more for the misfortunes of another than for one's own.
Osmyn. Yet I behold her-yet-and now no more.
Mourning Bride, Act II. Sc. 8, * Act iv. Sc. 5.
No man in his senses, ever thought of applying his eyes to discover what passes in his mind; far less of blaming his eyes for not seeing a thought or idea. In Moliere's L’Avare,* Harpagon being robbed of his money, seizes himself by the arm, mistaking it for that of the robber. And again he expresses himself as follows:
Je veux aller querir la justice, et faire donner la question à toute ma maison ; à servantes, à valets, à fils, à fille, et à moi aussi.
Of this second branch the following are examples.
Now bid me run,
Vos mains seule sont droit de vaincre un invincible.
Le Cid, Act V. Sc. last.
Que son nom soit beni. Que son nom soit chanté,
Esther, Act V. Sc. last.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Paradise Lost, Book IV. Of the third branch, take the following samples. Lucan talking of Pompey's sepulchre,
Romanum nomen, et omne
* Activ, Sc. 7.
Rura tenere potest, si nullo cespite nomen
Thus in Rowe's translation:
Where there are seas, or air, or earth, or skies,
Fearful we violate the mighty dead.
What is this?
Cesar. -Danger knows full well, That Cæsar is more dangerous than he. We were two lions litter'd in one day, And I the elder and more terrible.
Julius Cesar, Act II. Sc. 4.
Almahide. This day-
Almanzor. Good Heav'n, thy book of fate before me lay
Conquest of Grenada, Act III.
I'll hold it fast
Conquest of Grenada, Part II. Act 3.
[Dies. Conquest of Grenada, Part II. Act V. Ventidius. But you, ere love misled your wand'ring eyes Were, sure, the chief and best of human race, Fram'd in the very pride and boast of nature, So perfect, that the gods who form'd you wonder'd At their own skill, and cry'd, A lucky hit Has mended our design.
Dryden, All for Love, Act I. Not to talk of the impiety of this sentiment, it is ludicrous instead of being lofty.
The famous epitaph on Raphael is no less absurd than any of the foregoing passages :
Raphael, timuit, quo sospite, vinci
Imitated by Pope in his Epitaph on Sir Godfrey Kneller:
Living, great Nature fear'd he might outvie
Such is the force of imitation; for Pope of himself would never have been guilty of thought so extravagant.
So much upon sentiments; the language proper for expressing them, comes next in order.
Among the particulars that compose the social part of our nature, a propensity to communicate our opinions, our emotions, and every thing that affects us, is remarkable. Bad fortune and injustice affect us greatly; and of these we are so prone to complain, that if we have no friend or acqaintance to take part in our sufferings, we sometimes utter our complaints aloud, even where there are none to listen.
But this propensity operates not in every state of mind, A man immoderately grieved, seeks to afflict himself, rejecting all consolation : immoderate grief accordingly is inute : complaining is struggling for consolation.