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flexion, in a somewhat higher tone than in the two former lines: but the last couplet, which applies the simile, begins in a high tone of voice, adopts the falling inflexion on vessel, and lowers the voice gradually on the last line to the end.
Prosopopéia. PROSOPOPEIA, or Personification, is the in: vesting of qualities or things inanimate with the character of persons; or the introducing of dead or absent persons as if they were alive and present. This is at once one of the boldest and finest figures in rhetoric. Poets are prodigal in their use of this figure, but orators more sparing, as nothing but a degree of enthusiasm can make it appear natural. The general rule for pronouncing this species of figure will be easily conceived, when we recollect that, wherever we give language to a character, we must give that language such a pronunciation as is suitable to that character. Thus, when Cicero introduced Milo as speaking to the citizens of Rome:
. Should he, holding up his bloody sword, cry out, “ Attend, " I pray, hearken, ő citizens! I have killed Clodius; by this sword, and by this right hand, I have kept off his rage from your throats, which no laws, no courts of judicature could restrain; it is by my means that justice, equity, laws, liberty, shame, and modesty, remain in the city.”—Is it to be feared how the city would bear this declaration: Is there any one, who, in such a case, would not approve and commend it?
In pronouncing this passage we must give the words of Milo all that energy and fire which we suppose would actuate him on such an occasion. The right arm must be lifted up and extended; the vçice loud and elevated, as if speak, ing to a multitude, and almost every word must be emphatical; a long pause must precede the first question, which must begin in a low tone of voice, and end with the rising inflexion; and asthe last question is in opposition to the first, by contrasting approbation with disapprobation, it ought to be pronounced differently, and end with the falling inflexion; according to the rule laid down in the Elements of Elocution, vol. i. p. 297. .
But here a question will naturally arise about the force we are to give to this figure when we only read it. Are we, it will be demanded, to give all the force and energy which we suppose Milo made use of, when we merely read it in Cicero's orations? Yes, it may be answered, if we read these orations oratorically. But if we read. them only to inform our hearers of the subject, without assuming the character of the orator, it is certain that there is no necessity for the same force as in the rostrum. The character we assume when we take up the book makes all the difference. The pronunciation expected from a gentleman by a small circle of his friends is as different from that of the orator as the language of the orator is from the chit-chat of conversation; but if the gentleman should, for the entertainment of his friends, assume the character of the orator, it is then expected that he should give the composition ail the force and energy of which it is susceptible, that is, all the force and energy that would become the characters whose words are assumed. Thus Milton may be read by a person who forms no pretensions to public notice in a manner very diffcrently from one who pronounces from the ros
erum; but if Milton be read to the greatest ad-
- For it made me mad
Come current for an accusation
condary as to assume the character he describes, we might laugh at him as a mimic, but should despise him as a man:--no; while the leading passions, anger and contempt, have proper pos: session of him, they will keep him from a too servile imitation of the object of his resentment; but that a considerable degree of imitation should be allowed in the pronunciation of this passage is not to be disputed. The same observations hold good in pronouncing the words of Cæsar, in a speech of Cassius, where he is de: scribing that hero under the paroxysms of ą fever:
- I did hear him groan:
Shakspeare's Julius Cæsar, If these words of Cæsar, Give me some drink, Titinius, were to be pronounced untinctured with that scorn and contempt with which Cassius is overflowing, and the small fee, ble voice of a sick person were to be perfectly imitated, it would be unworthy the character of Cassius, and fit only for the buffoon in a farce.
These observations will lead us to decide in many other cases. There is a beautiful Proso, popeia of a hoary-headed swain in Gray's Elegy in a Country Church-Yard;
For thee who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
Some kindred spirit should inquire thy fate,
« Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn,
f! To meet the sun upon the upland lawn,” &c.
of the age, there truly :
Nothing can be conceived more truly ridicu- . Hous, in reading this passage, than quitting the melancholy tone of the relator, and assuming : the indifferent and rustic accent of the old swain, and yet no error so likely to be mistaken for a beauty by a reader of no taste: while a good reader, without entirely dropping the plaintive tone, will abate it a little, and give it a slight tincture only of the indifference and rusticity of the person introduced.
But where the personification is assumed instantaneously, and does not arise out of any other passion, provided we are reading to the public, it ought to have exactly the same force and energy as in dramatic composition. Thus the sublime rage of Gray's Bard :
Kuin seize thee, ruthless king,
Confusion on thy banners wait!
They mock the air in 'idle state,
These lines, I say, demand an elevation of voice, and an expression of the utmost rage and resentment; but in this expression we must attend more particularly to the caution of Shakspeare, “ that in the very torrent, tempest, and, .66 I may say, whirlwind of our passion, we must “ acquire and beget a temperance that may give " it smoothness."
The personification of pride, in Pope's Essay on Man, is not preceded by any other passion, and may therefore be allowed a forcible expression.