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Sidelong had pushed a mountain from its seat,

Half sunk with all its pines.

The essentials of imagery and style are combined with eminent effect in this passage from Ossian:

A blast came from the mountain: on its wings was the spirit of Loda. He came to his place in his terrors, and shook his dusky spear. His eyes appear like flames in his dark face: his voice is like distant thunder. Fingal advanced his spear in night, and raised his voice on high. Son of night, retire: call thy winds, and fly! Why dost thou come to my presence with thy shadowy arms? Do I fear thy gloomy form, spirit of dismal Loda? Weak is thy shield of clouds; feeble is that meteor thy sword! The blast rolls them together: and thou thyself art lost. Fly from my presence, son of night! call thy winds and fly!'

When Lear is turned out of doors by his daughters, in the wild night, the storm in his breast marries itself with a ghastly joy to the storm of the elements, which seems echoed in the crashing splendor of the verse:

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!

You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout

Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,

Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!

Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!


Another fine example of the dramatic sublime is that burst of passion - sublime grief inflamed into rage which Shakespeare makes old Northumberland utter when he hears of his son Percy's death:

Now bind my brows with iron, and approach
The ruggedest hour that time and fate can bring
To frown upon enraged Northumberland.

Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not nature's hand
Keep the wide floods confined; let order die!
And let the world no longer be a stage,

To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms; and all hearts being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead!


The mind cannot be kept forever on the heights. writer has sufficient force of genius to be uninterruptedly sublime. Not all are even occasionally so. Sublimity is the fire of imagination, breaking forth more frequently, and with greater lustre, in some than in others. Of modern English authors it may be said that no poet since Milton affords so many passages of the kind as the impetuous and vehement Byron.

On the other hand, beauty, because less intense, is prolonged and may be perpetual.

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety,

says Shakespeare, and the same truth is finely expressed by Keats:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness, but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health and quiet breathing.

The difference is well described and illustrated in Tennyson's ode to Milton:

O mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies,
O skilled to sing of Time or Eternity,
God-gifted organ-voice of England,

Milton, a name to resound for ages;
Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,
Starr'd from Jehovah's gorgeous armories,
Tower, as the deep-toned empyrean

Rings to the roar of an angel onset

Me rather all that bowery loveliness,
The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,

And bloom profuse and cedar arches
Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean,
Where some refulgent sunset of India
Streams o'er a rich ambrosial ocean isle,

And crimson-hued the stately palm-woods
Whisper in odorous heights of even.

The highest æsthetic effect is produced by the conjunction of the sublime and beautiful, as in Westminster Abbey, the cathedral of St. Peter, the Falls of Niagara. Milton never forgets this principle of art. So-beauty tempering sublimity, sublimity elevating beauty-Pande

monium rises

Like an exultation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars, overlaid

With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice, or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven;
The roof was fretted gold.




Humor is wit and love.-THACKERAY.

Every resemblance of ideas is not that which we call wit, unless it be such a one that gives delight and surprise to the reader. These two properties seem essential to wit, more particularly the last.-ADDISON.


IT is derived from the Saxon witan, modern German wissen, which means 'to know.' Its first application, therefore, was to the intellect. A witty was formerly a wise man, a man of quick apprehension, of vigorous intellectual powers. As late as the reign of Elizabeth, a man of great wit signified a man of great judgment. To this day, we say of a person, if he is selfpossessed and rational, that he is in his wits; if otherwise, that he is out of his wits. It is in this general sense of quick wisdom that Pope observes:

True wit is nature to advantage drest,

What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed.

Lord Russell's definition of a proverb, 'The wisdom of many and the wit of one,' would thus form a witticism; likewise Coleridge's comparison of a single thought to a wave of the sea, which takes its shape from the waves which precede and follow it; and of experience to the stern-lights of a ship, which illumine only the track it has passed.

But wit, as currently understood, is a diverting or mirthmaking power-the power of so associating objects not usually connected as to produce a pleasant surprise. Its essential element consists in the accidental, awkward,

or intentional grouping or bringing together, in a sudden and unexpected manner, of objects or ideas that are in their nature incongruous. Most of the wit that we call Irish is the result of accident a blunder, a bull. A gentleman in a coffee-house writing a letter, and perceiving an Irishman behind him, concluded: 'I would say

more, but a tall Irishman is reading over my shoulder every word I write.' 'You lie! you scoundrel,' said the self-convicted Hibernian.

Where the juxtaposition is designed, as in what is more properly denominated wit, the incongruities are of various types. The debasement of the elevated and grave by means of figures and phrases that are mean and contemptible, takes the name of burlesque :

'I love to hear the thunder burst,

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Butler's Hudibras affords numerous illustrations.
also Cervantes' description of the battle between Don
Quixote and the wind-mills, a burlesque on the ancient
tournaments. To this division belong compositions in
which a prevailing serious tone is unexpectedly changed
at the close, as in Goldsmith's Elegy on Madam Blaize:
She strove the neighborhood to please

With manners wondrous winning;
She never followed wicked ways,-

Unless when she was sinning.

Of similar nature is the parody, a composition of like sound to another, but of ludicrously different meaning. A writer, for example, enumerating the miseries of life, says that, as he climbed into a berth in a river steam-boat, I thought, as I hollowed my narrow bed,

And punched up my meagre pillow,

How the foe and the stranger should tread o'er my head,
As I sped on my way o'er the billow.

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