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"fecrets of the law, wherein I affure you the fa 66 ges of the law in former times have had the "deepest reach. And as the bucket in the depth " is easily drawn to the uppermost part of the "water, (for nullum elementum in fuo proprio "loco eft grave), but take it from the water it "cannot be drawn up but with a great difficulty; "fo, albeit beginnings of this study feem diffi
cult, yet when the profeffor of the law can "dive into the depth, it is delightful, eafy, and "without any heavy burden, fo long as he keep "himfelf in his own proper element *." Shakefpear with much wit ridicules this difpofition to fimile-making, by putting in the mouth of a weak man, a resemblance much of a piece with that now mentioned:
Fluellen. I think it is in Macedon where Alexander is porn: I tell you, Captain, if you look in the maps of the orld, I warrant that you fall find, in the comparisons between Macedon and Monmouth, that the fituafions, look you, is both alike. There is a river in Macedon, there is alfo moreover a river in Monmouth: it is called Wye at Monmouth, but it is out of my prains what is the name of the other river; but it is all one, 'tis as like as my fingers to my fingers, and there is falmons in both. If you mark Alexander's life well, Harry of Monmouth's life is come after it indifferent well; for there is figures in all things. Alexander, God knows, and you know, in his rages, and his furies, and his wraths, and his cho lers, and his moods, and his difpleasures, and his indig
Coke upon Littleton, p. 71.
nations, and alfo being a little intoxicates in his prains, did, in his ales and his angers, look you, kill his peft friend Clytus.
Gower. Our King is not like him in that; he never kill'd any of his friends.
Fluellen. It is not well done, mark you now, to take the tales out of my mouth, ere it is made and finished. I fpeak but in figures, and comparisons of it: As Alexander kill'd his friend Clytus, being in his ales and his cups; fo alfo Harry Monmouth, being in his right wits and his good judgments, turn'd away the fat knight with the great belly doublet; he was full of jefts, and gypes, and knaveries, and mocks: I have forgot his name.
Gower. Sir John Falstaff.
Fluellen. That is he: I tell you, there is good men porn at Monmouth.
K. Henry V. act 4. fc. 13.
Instruction, no doubt, is the chief end of comparifon; but that it is not the only end, will be evident from confidering, that a comparison may be employ'd with fuccefs to put a fubject in a ftrong point of view. A lively idea is formed of a man's courage, by likening it to that of a lion; and eloquence is exalted in our imagination, by comparing it to a river overflowing its banks, and involving all in its impetuous courfe. The fame effect is produced by contrast: a man in profperity, becomes more fenfible of his happinefs, by oppofing his condition to that of a perfon in want of bread. Thus comparison is fubfervient to poetry as well as to philofophy; and
with respect to both, the foregoing obfervation holds equally, that refemblance among objects of the fame kind, and diffimilitude among objects of different kinds, have no effect: fuch a comparifon neither tends to gratify our curiofity, nor to fet the objects compared in a stronger light: two apartments in a palace, fimilar in fhape, fize, and furniture, make feparately as good a figure as when compared; and the fame obfervation is applicable to two fimilar compartments in a garden on the other hand, oppofe a regular building to a fall of water, or a good picture to a towering hill, or even a little dog to a large horfe, and the contraft will produce no effect. But a refemblance between objects of different kinds, and a difference between objects of the fame kind, have remarkably an enlivening effect. The poets, fuch of them as have a just taste, draw all their fimiles from things that in the main differ widely from the principal fubject; and they never attempt a contraft, but where the things have a common genus, and a refemblance in the capital circumftances: place together a large and a finall sized animal of the fame fpecies, the one will appear greater, the other lefs, than when viewed separately: when we oppose beauty to deformity, each makes a greater figure by the comparison.
That refemblance and diffimilitude have an enlivening effect upon objects of fight, is made fufficiently evident; and that they have the fame effect
fect upon objects of the other fenfes, is alfo certain. Nor is this law confined to the external fenfes; for characters contrafted, make a greater figure by the oppofition: lago, in the tragedy of Othello, fays,
He hath a daily beauty in his life,
The character of a fop, and of a rough warrior, are no where more fuccefsfully contrafted than Shakespear:
Hotspur. My liege, I did deny no prifoners;
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He his nofe;
He call'd them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
and ftill he fmil'd, and talk'd;
To bring a flovenly, unhandfome corfe
With many holiday and lady terms
He queftion'd me: among the reft, demanded
I then all fmarting with my wounds; being gall'd
To be fo pefter'd with a popinjay,
Answer'd, neglectingly, I know not what :
He fhould, or fhould not; for he made me mad,
And talk fo like a waiting gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds; (God fave the` mark!)
And telling me, the fovereign'ft thing on earth
First part Henry IV. a 1. ft. 4. Paffions and emotions are also inflamed by comparison. A man of high rank humbles the byftanders even to annihilate them in their own opinion: Cæfar, beholding the ftatue of Alexander, was greatly mortified, that now at the age of thirty-two, when Alexander died, he had not performed one memorable action.
Our opinions alfo are much influenced by comparifon. A man whofe opulence exceeds the ordinary standard, is reputed richer than he is in reality; and wisdom or weaknefs, if at all remarkable in an individual, is generally carried beyond the truth.
The opinion a man forms of his present distress is heightened by contrafting it with his former happiness: