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his pedigree has been dulcified, by an exposure to the influence of heaven in a long flow of generations, from the hard, acidulous, metallick tincture of the spring. It is little to be doubted, that several of his forefathers, in that long series, have degenerated into honour and virtue."

149

CHAPTER XI.

FIGURES OF THOUGHT continued.

ALLUSION.

Allusion (from the Latin ad, and ludere, to play) is that figure by which some word, or phrase, in a sentence, calls to mind, as if accidentally, another similar, or analogous, subject. Thus, were a person to say "I was surrounded with difficulties, and possessed no clue by which I could effect my escape,' the classical reader would, immediately, be reminded of the Clue of Ariadne and the Labyrinth of Crete. The speaker evidently alluded to that tale of heathen mythology

There are two requisites to constitute a proper Allusion: that the subject alluded to shall be readily perceived, and that it recompense by its beauty, or its utility, for our being drawn aside from the main object of the discourse. Du Marsais adduces a fine example of this figure, in a petition of M. Robin to Louis XIV., requesting to be allowed to retain possession of a small island in the Rhone:

Qu'est-ce en éfet pour toi, Grand Monarque des Gaules,

Qu'un peu de sable et de gravier ?
Que faire de mon ile? Il n'y croit que des saules;

Et tu n'aimes que le laurier."*

In these lines the Willow is taken in its literal, and the Laurel in a figurative, signification; but it may be remarked that the Allusion could only be seen among those Nations where the Laurel is the symbol of victory.

PARONOMASIA, OR PUN.

A Pun is a verbal allusion in consequence of words of similar sound, or of the same orthography, having different meanings. The Rhetorical name of this figure is from the Greek para, near, and onoma, a name. It is a species of Witticism, because it contains an unexpected thought. Thus, a Gentleman, who had undertaken to make a pun upon any given subject, when it was proposed that he should make one on the King, replied that the King was not a subject. That Majesty if stript of its externals would remain a jest is only a pun upon part of a word.

* Monarch of France! my little Isle

Is worthless sand, unfit for Thee:
Why look for Laurels from a soil

Which scarcely bears the Willow tree?

The author of that amusing work, « Heraldic Anomalies," quotes a number of clever Puns, among which is the following:

" Voltaire had a stupid fat Friar living with him at Ferney, who was useful to him, and who went by the name of Pere Adam, Father Adam; a Gentleman who was visiting there, happening to get a glimpse of this inmate of so celebrated a house, asked Voltaire if that was Father Adam? Yes, replied Voltaire, that is Father Adam, but not the first of men."

When a Pun is reckoned worth preserving it is generally turned into verse, and appears among collections of Epigrams: for example,

I cannot move," yon clamorous beggar cries, “Nor sit, nor stand”:-if he says true he lies.

When dress'd for the evening, the girls now-a-days

Scarce an atom of dress on them leave;
Nor blame them:—for what is an evening dress

But a dress that is suited for Eve?

And this Rondeau :

By two black eyes my heart was won,
Sure never wretch was more undone :-

To Celia with my suit I came,

But she, regardless of the prize,
Thought proper to reward my flame

With two black eyes,

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It is a lower species of this play upon words when the sound only is considered without regard to the orthography. These are Puns to the ear and not to the eye. They originate in the comparison of such words as knight and night,wrung and rung, - hare and hair; but they are so little valued that we shall be excused from citing examples. Indeed, punning altogether is now banished from good writing. It might be a very proper exercise for young masters and misses in a winter evening, provided it could be kept clear of that contamination with which it was so unfortunately associated, in the works of the early English writers. .“ A quibble," says Dr. Johnson, “is to Shakspeare, what luminous vapours are to the traveller; he follows it at all adventures: it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulph him in the mire. It has some malignant power over his mind, and its fascinations are irresistable. Whatever be the dignity or profundity of his disquisition, whether he be enlarging knowledge or exalting affection, whether he be amusing attention with incidents, or enchaining it in suspence,-let but a quibble spring up before him, and he leaves his work unfinished. A quibble is the golden apple for which he will always turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation.

A quibble, poor

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