Imatges de pÓgina

own time. When Omiah, from Otaheite, was first introduced to Lord Sandwich, in order to distinguish the company present, he pointed first to the butler, and called him "king of the bottles"-Capt. Furneaux, "king of the ships" -and Lord Sandwich, "king of all the ships."

Something like this appears to have been the case with the antient Hebrews, and accounts for many of their idioms. Thus they variously apply the term Baal, signifying Lord, or Master. A master of arrows' is a skilful archer -a master of dreams, a remarkable dreamer


a master of the tongue3, a great talker-a master of contrivances, a cunning fellow-and a bird swift of flight, a master of the wings. like manner they apply the term ben, a son, to a great variety of objects. An arrow is the son of the bow-a spark, the son of a coal-and a vine branch, the daughter of the vine". An animal a year old is the son of a year—a man deserving punishment, a son of stripes3—and so in a variety of other forms.

Dr. BLAIR remarks, We are apt, upon a superficial view, to imagine that figures of speech are among the chief refinements of language-devised by orators and rhetoricians. The contrary of this is the truth. Mankind "never employed so many figures of speech as * when they had hardly any words; and this seems the true reason why all barbarian or in

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artificial tongues abound in the use of metaphors; many of them conducting their common public transactions with bolder metaphors, and greater pomp of style, than we use in our poetical productions'.'

That figures, properly employed, give great force and beauty to composition, will not be controverted; yet we see they originated in the paucity of words, and the poverty of language: so Providence has ordained in this mixed state of things; beauties often arise out of defects; as the rudest objects in nature furnish the most interesting views.

It is natural to suppose, that mankind would early discover this circumstance, and soon employ figurative terms, as well from choice as from necessity; to give life and spirit to their conversations, and especially to their set speeches and compositions.

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Mr. Blackwell observes, that the Turks, Arabs, Indians, and, in general, most of the ' inhabitants of the east, are a solitary kind of 'people, they speak but seldom, and never long without emotion: but when, in their * own phrase, they open their mouths, and give loose to a fiery imagination, they are poetical, ⚫ and full of metaphor. Speaking, among such people, is a matter of some moment, as we may gather from their usual introductions; for before they begin to deliver their thoughts, they give notice that they will open their mouth, that they will unloose their tongue, that they will utter their voice and pronounce with

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Blair's Lect. vi. vol. I.


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their lips. These preambles bear a great re'semblance (adds this learned writer) to the 'old forms of introduction in Homer, Hesiod;

and Orpheus, in which they are sometimes 'followed by Virgil'.' I may subjoin, that they are the very expressions adopted by the sacred


Another source of figures, which I shall mention, is the use of picture-writing and hieroglyphics. Bishop WARBURTON has largely shewn, that picture writing was the first method of recording public events: to this succeeded hieroglyphics, which were an abridgi ment of the former method; and these were followed by the arbitrary characters of literal writing, which were most probably abridged from hieroglyphics.

These ideas are not merely not merely conjectural. When the Spaniards invaded South America, the inhabitants sent expresses to Montezuma, in paintings upon cloth; and. Purchase gives the copy of a Mexican picture, which contains the history of an antient Indian king, in emblematic pictures. So in North America, to preserve historical events, they peel off the bark on one side of a tree, scrape it clean, and then draw with ruddle the figure of a hero and his military exploits; the representation of a hunting party, and the beasts killed; or any other circumstance they wish to remember, or to record 3.


Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer, p. 43.
Divine Legation, Vol. II.

3 Loskiel's Hist. of the Mission of the United Brethren in North America, translated by Latrobe, part i. p. 55.

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This way of delineating events would be casily transferred to poetry, which is a method of painting objects upon the imagination, with a strength and durability which mere literal expression can by no means effect. And an ALLEGORY (according to Lord KAIMS) is in every respect similar to an allegorical painting; except only that words are used instead of colours. The effects are precisely the same. An hieroglyphic raises two images in the 'mind; one seen, which represents one not "seen: an allegory does the same ; the repre"sentative subject is described, and resemblance 'leads us to apply the description to the subject ' represented.


Again, in the early state of society men converse much by the aid of action. When they know not how accurately to name an object, they point to it; or, in the absence of the object itself, to its image or resemblance; hence: arises the language of action as well as words. Of the Indian orators it is remarked, that they use a great variety of gesticulations: and the same is true of the natives of the South Sea Islands, and of all uncivilized nations, in proportion to their vivacity. Nor is this method. confined to uncivilized society. With the deaf and dumb, action is employed as a substitute for speech; and on the theatre it forms a favourite species of amusement; for what are the ballet and the pantomime but speaking action? To such a degree of perfection was this art car

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ried by the ancients, that Roscius, the celebrated Roman actor, boasted to Cicero that he could express any sentiment in as great a variety of intelligible gestures as he could of words.

Even dancing, which is with us a mere amusement, and in general a very vain one, appears to have been much more dignified in its original; being employed in the religious worship of the Greeks, the Egyptians, and even the Hebrews. Among the former it is supposed to have been an imitation of the motion of the heavenly bodies. So Lucian tells us, that dancing had its rise with the first beginning of all things-for the choral revolution of the stars, and the complicated motions of the planets among the fixed stars, and their regular communion with each other, and well-ordered harmony, are instances of the primeval danc ing. To this idea our MILTON evidently. alludes, when he reckons dancing among the employments of heaven.

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That day, as other folemn days, they spent
In joy and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere
Of planets, and of fix'd, in all her wheels
Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolv'd, yet regular

• Then most, when most irregular they seem 2.

That the Hebrews employed dancing in their religious worship is indisputable from the instance of David and others, in the Old Testa

1 Lucian Tερ Onσews, Vol. I. p. 913. Ed. Ben.
2 Par. Lost, Book V. 1. 620.

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