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have been enriched by about eighty words, whose composition is unknown to the mere English scholar.
It is generally believed that the first written language was a painting, or other actual representation, of the things themselves of which an idea was to be conveyed; and, as far as material objects were concerned, it was, thereby, possible to communicate the thought. Thus, the figure of a Lion, standing over a mangled body, might denote that a man had been killed by a Lion; and, if there were added a crescent, the time would be fixed to that of the new moon. But, were we to express our doubts of the intentions of a pretended friend, we might depict him in the act of holding out a heart partially covered with a veil. The former painting would be a delineation of facts as they occurred, but the figures in the latter would be SYMBOLS, (Greek syn, together and ballo, I throw) because, representing certain objects, they conjoin the ideas of other things,the picture is symbolical. Symbols, therefore, in picture-writing, were equivalent to metaphors, in the spoken and written language of the present day: the olive-branch was the symbol of peace, and the laurel wreath was woven to decorate the brow of the conqueror.
OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE GENERALLY-
Rhetoricians, in their arragements, have usually divided verbal metaphors into various species, with different names, and classed the whole under the general head of TROPES: a term from the Greek trepo, I turn. These treat of the different senses in which the same word may be underderstood in the same language, in consequence of the various forms or shapes which the imagination may cause it to assume. These Forms, or Shapes, are also termed FIGURES; and every expression which differs from the natural expression of the thought is Figurative. The word Figure, however, is applied to the Grammatical forms of words as well as to the Rhetorical. The elision of a letter, or of a syllable, for example, as e'er for ever; wint'ry for wintery &c., (so common in poetry,) is a Figure, called Syncope. This and others of a like kind belong to Grammar properly so called; and, therefore, for the purpose of distinction, the Figures of Rhetoric, as far as they concern the signification of
Words, are termed Tropes. In the manner that we have spoken of Metaphors, in the preceding Chapter, Tropes and Metaphors would seem to be synonymous. The fact is that, in ordinary language, the word Metaphor includes all those Figures that are termed Tropes. The latter is merely a more scientific denomination; because it has been adopted whenever Rhetoric has been treated as an art. In the arrangement of Du Marsais, Metaphor is one of the species of Tropes, being that which is founded on an imaginary resemblance.
Metonymy, from the Greek meta and onoma, a name, is, literally, a transposition or change of one name for another. The word is generally limited to denominate such sorts of change as the following:
1. Substituting the CAUSE for the EFFECT. Thus, the land is taken for its produce:
"A time there was, ere England's griefs began, When every rood of ground maintain'd its man," 2. Substituting the EFFECT for the CAUSE. Thus, Junius asks:
"Can grey hairs make folly venerable?" where Grey hairs, which are the usual consequence of age, are put for age itself.
3. Substituting the CONTAINING for the CONTAINED. It is in this metaphor that the toper is said to be fond of his bottle; and the highwayman calls out your purse or your life!' In a quotation already made, the country is substituted for its inhabitants:
"A time there was, ere England's griefs began.”
4. Substituting the name of the PLACE where a thing is made for that of THE THING itself. It is hence that we speak of a bottle of Burgundy,' or of a glass of Hollands,' meaning Burgundy Wine, or Holland Gin: but these are elliptical phrases rather than metaphors.
5. Substituting the SIGN for the thing SIGNIFIED. Thus, 'He carried away the palm, means that he conquered: the palm being the emblem of victory.
6. Substituting the ABSTRACT NAME for the CONCRETE. Thus, in the expression, 'Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,' hope is taken for the things that are hoped for; and when we say, 'O Lord, grant us our prayer,' we mean by prayer the things prayed for.
The preceding are the principal species of Metonymy; but, under this head, we may include a whole class of Metaphors, derived from the theories of antiquity, which connect certain parts
of the human body with the powers and feelings of the mind. Thus, the Brain,
'Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling house,' has been long considered as the seat of the understanding; and diseases of the brain are believed to be the chief causes of the diseases of the mind. He has no brains is equivalent to saying he is a fool. Whether, in fact, the brain is, or is not, the seat of the soul, as our ancestors imagined it to be, we shall not attempt to determine; but the subject has of late been admirably burlesqued, by the revivers of the ancient science of phrenology. But to return:
The Heart has been accounted the seat of the mental affections; and hence we say that a man has a good, or a bad, heart, according as we suppose him to be actuated, generally, by kind or by envious feelings. The epithets are numerous. One is said to be openhearted, or kindhearted; and another is blackhearted, rottenhearted, &c. all from the same hypothesis.
A variable or temporary influence has been ascribed to the state of other viscera. The Liver, according to the old anatomists, was the seat of the turbulent passions; and hence Shakspeare's repeated allusions:
"O she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,