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This figure is very common in poetry, and, when judiciously employed, imparts energy to a sentence.
EXERCISES.—- 1. What Figures of Orthography do the following words illustrate ?
Plaint for complaint; wail for bewail; eve for evening; fount for fountain ; dread for dreadful ; ope for open; arise for rise ; stoln for stolen; disparted for parted ; 'tis; 'twill; adown his beard.
2. Name the Figure of Syntax illustrated by the clauses in Italic :
a. Blessing and honour and glory and might and thanksgiving be unto our God.
b. There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down,
c. They fall successive and successive rise.
O’erturn his bow'rs, and lay his castle low.
FIGURES OF RHETORIC,
129. The FIGURES OF RHETORIC are deviations from the proper and literal meaning of a word or phrase. — A word is said to be used literally, when it is employed to describe anything according to the ordinary mode of expression; and figuratively, when, though retaining its usual signification, it is applied in a manner different from its common application. Thus, when I use the word pillar as supporting an edifice, I employ it literally; but, when speaking of a man,
“He is the pillar of
the state," I use it figuratively; because, in this latter instance, I apply it to an object different from that to which it is usually applied.
130. Figurative Language is, in general, the expression of a lively imagination, employing words which, originally, were descriptive of sensible objects only, but which, from an apparent affinity, are equally applicable to mental perceptions. Thus, we speak of a piercing judgment, a clear head, a soft or a hard heart. We also say inflamed by anger ; swelled with pride; melted with grief; and these terms are almost the only significant words which we have for such ideas.
131. CAUTION IN THE APPLICATION OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE. — Figurative Language must always rise spontaneously, as it were, from the subject itself, and be based on solid thought and natural sentiment. When thus introduced, it con• tributes most powerfully to instruct the understanding and interest the heart. To acquire skill in its application, sound sense and careful practice will be essential.
132. The following are the principal Figures of Rhetoric:
Simile or Comparison, Metaphor, Allegory, Antithěsis, Allusion, Hyperbolė, Irony, Paralepsis, Metonymy, Synecdoche or Comprehension, Personification or Prosopopēia, Apostrophe, Interrogation, Exclamation, Vision, Climax.
133. a. A SIMILE or FORMAL COMPARISON is the resemblance in some one particular between two
objects of different kinds or species. This resemblance is expressed by the words like or as ; thus, we can say of a horse, “ He is as swift as the wind;" and of a man,
“He is as firm as a rock.” – Here, the resemblance between a horse and the wind is in swiftness ; and between a man and a rock in strength.
b. As Comparisons must be instituted between objects of different species, it is improper to compare one man with another, one arbour with another, one river with another, or one army with another, &c. The ohjects must always be attached to different species; thus, we can properly compare“ A hero to a lion," –"night to old age,”_life to an ocean," -"an army to a torrent," &c: So, we may compare a mighty poet who pours his thoughts in the violence and rapidity of verse to a river swollen with rain hurrying all before it.
C. As Comparisons imply some degree of deliberation, they appear in. consistent with the expression of violent passion. On such occasions, metaphors may, with propriety, be introduced.
134. a. RULE FOR THE APPLICATION OF SIMILES. -A Simile must be striking, natural, and suitable to the subject and the occasion; as, 66 The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.”. Here, the comparison is made not between one kind of music and another, but, between music and the memory of joys that are past. The resemblance is therefore happy and striking, and awakens all the tender sensibilities suggested by the objects of comparison.
b. The preceding rule will exclude all comparisons that are too trite and obvious, too faint and remote, too difficult for ordinary apprehension, or not suitable either to the subject or the occasion.
C. A due regard must, of course, be had to the class of readers whom we are addressing. What is trite to well-informed persons, may possibly be
new to others. And again, a comparison which is quite allowable now, may, in the advance of knowledge, fall under the objection just mentioned. In either case, however, the rule will hold good,
135. A Comparison is sometimes introduced purposely to lessen or depress an object. This is effected by associating the principal subjects with something low or despicable ; thus, Milton compares the fallen angels to a herd of goats :
The overthrown he rais’d, and, as a herd
EXERCISES. 136. Neatly transcribe the following Examples, underlining the words exemplifying the Figure, and subjoining to each Example a few remarks tending to show the propriety of the Simile. 1. The path of the just is as the shining light.
Remarks. 2. Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord.
And fondly broods with miser care ;
You seize the flower -its bloom is shed.
Like a proud swan, conquering the stream by force.
6. As from some rocky cliff the shepherd sees
Clust'ring in heaps on heaps the driving bees,
137. A METAPHOR is founded on the resemblance which one object bears to another; and differs from a simile only in being expressed in a shorter form (generally in one word), without the signs of comparison like or as; thus, " Thy word is a lamp to my feet.” In this example, lamp is used metaphorically to affirm that the divine word instructs men in the course of conduct to be pursued, just as a lamp directs them in the dark how to choose their footsteps.
138. When I say, “ Man is like a wolf to man,” I use a simile ; but when I
“ Man is a wolf,” I employ a metaphor. When an author, therefore, designates “ man as a wolf,” he must describe only such of the qualities and appearances of the wolf as are suitable to bis subject. Caution is necessary to know at what point the resemblance ceases. Thus, were he to say, “ Man is a wolf to man that mur.