« ForrigeFortsett »
And on our City Hall a justice stands;
A neater form was never made of board;
A pair of steelyards and a wooden sword,
Emblem of dignity and durability. A finer example of irony can scarcely be found than the prose article by Washington Irving on the
Right of the Colonists to America," quoted in the * Young Ladies' Reader," by Mrs. Tuthill, an excellent work for classes, as a storehouse of rhetorical illustrations.
Shakspeare abounds in examples of hyperbole. It is heard, also, if not practiced, every day in conversa · tion. Junius abounds in irony and satire.
A. Such a form of speech as serves to put in form of a question what is meant to be strongly affirmative.
Q. Is interrogation always used figuratively?
A. It is never so used when employed to make inquiry about any thing of which one is ignorant.
Q. When may it be said to be used figuratively?
A. Only when so used that, under the form of a question, it serves the purpose of strong declaration.
Q. Can you exemplify this?
Ă. “ Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ?"
Q. What is implied in these questions?
Ă. A strong declaration that the Supreme Being is quite incomprehensible, and can not be found out.
Q. Is this a common figure ?
4. Very much so; and it is often the strongest mode of reasoning, as implying the absence of all doubt respecting the object of the interrogation.
Q. What do you understand by Exclamation ?
A. A mode of expression which exhibits great emotion of mind.
Q. By what is it generally produced ?
A. By the deep or lively sense which we have of the greatness or importance of any object.
Q. In what does it differ from interrogation
A. Chiefly in its being the language of passion and emotion; while interrogation is principally that of reason and judgment.
Q. Can you give an example of this figure ?
A. “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Q. Is this figure ever combined with any other?
A. It is often combined with climax, as in the fol. lowing example: “What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god!"
OF VISION AND ALLITERATION. Q. What do you mean by Vision ?
Ă. That figure by which past, future, or distant objects are described as if they were actually present to the view of the speaker or writer.
Q. To what sort of composition is this figure adapted ?
A. It excites deep interest in the objects contemplated, and makes us fancy we see them present before our eyes.
Q. Can you give an example of this?
A. Cheever, in the use of this figure, thus describes Bunyan, when in prison, nearly two hundred years ago :
“And now it is evening. A rude lamp glimmers darkly on the table, the tagged laces are laid aside, and Bunyan, alone, is busy with his Bible, the concordance, and his pen, ink, and paper. He writes as though joy did make him write. His pale, worn coun tenance is lighted with a fire, as if reflected from the radiant jas per walls of the Celestial City. He writes, and smiles, and clasps his hands, and looks upward, and blesses God for his goodness.
and then again turns to his writing. The last you see of him for the night, he is alone, kneeling on the floor of his prison; he is alone, with God.”
For another example, see the quotation from the same writer in chap. xxiv. Q. What do you mean by Alliteration?
A. The use of such words, at certain intervals, as begin with or contain the same letter.
Q. Is this figure much in use?
A. It is very much in use by our best poets, and even sometimes by prose writers.
Q. On what is this figure founded ?
A. On that pleasure which the ear feels in the recurrence of similar sounds at regular and stated distances.
Q. Can you give any examples ?
“Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone."
Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures.
A. In some instances it may be purely accidental, and on these occasions it is always most natural, and its effects are then by far the most pleasing.
Q. What is the best and most general rule for all the figures of speech?
A. It is, never to make a deliberate search after them; use them only when they rise spontaneously out of the subject; never pursue them too far; and let them always be such as enforce and illustrate, as well as embellish a subject.
OTHER SECONDARY TROPES.
Q. What are secondary tropes ?
Ă. Those which may be resolved into the primary which are metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony.
Q. What is Antonomasia ?
a general term for a proper name, or a proper name for a general term: as when Aristotle calls Homer, the poet; as when we call a great warrior, an Alexander; a great orator, a Demosthenes ; a great patron of learning, a Mæcenas. This trope may also be used when we intend to convey a lively image to the mind, as in that line of Milton,
“O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp." Q. What is to be said of the use of this figure ? A. When too frequent, it makes language obscure, affected, or ostentatious of learning. It should never be used when the character alluded to may be supposed to be unknown to the reader or hearer.
Q. What is meant by the trope that is called communication?
A. It is when, from modesty, or respect to our hearers, we say we instead of I or you. It is a trope which puts many for one.
Q. What is Litotes or Extenuation?
A. It is used when we do not express so much as we mean, and which, therefore, may also be resolved into synecdoche, as when we say, “I can not commend you for that,” meaning, "I greatly blame you.” “The news I have to communicate will not be very agreeable” means “will be very disagreeable.”
Q. What trope is nearly related to litotes ?
Å. Euphemism, as when it is said of the martyr Stephen that “he fell asleep,” instead of "he died,” the euphemism partakes of the nature of metaphor, intimating a resemblance Letween sleep and the death of such a person.
Q. What is Catachresis or Abusio ?
A. It means improper use, and is any trope, especially a metaphor, so strong as to border on impropriety by seeming to confound the nature of things, as when we call the young of beasts “their sons and daughters ;” or the instinctive economy of bees “their government;" or when the goat is called in Virgil “the husband of the flock;" when Moses calls wine “the blood of the grape;" for nothing but an animal can have blood ; and sons, daughters, husbands, government, belong to rational beings only. We sometimes use this figure from necessity, because we have no other way 30 convenient to express our meaning, as when we say, a silver candle stick, a glass ink horn
MISCELLANEOUS FIGURES OF SPEECH.
Q. What is the difference between Tropes and Figures ?
A. A trope is the name of one thing applied emphatically to express another thing; a figure is a phrase, expression, sentence, or continuation of sentences, used in a sense different from the original and proper sense, and yet so used as not to occasion obscurity. Tropes affect single words chiefly; figures affect phrases and sentences.
Q. What is Asyndeton?
A. It is the omission of connective words in a sentence to give the idea of rapidity and energy. “I came, saw, con ouered.”
Q. What is Polysyndeton ?
Ă. It is the full insertion of connectives for the purpose of retarding the progress of the narrative, that every partie ular may be considered by the mind. • You have ships, and men, and money, and stores, and all other things which constitute the strength of the city.” Dr. Chalmers is fond of the use of this figure.
Q. What is Repetition ?
A. It occurs when the same word in sound and sense is repeated, or one of a like sound or signification, or both.
The following is a fine specimen of repetition in reference to the Bible. “ The book of the world's Creator and the world's Governor, the record of the world's history and the world's duty, the world's sin and the world's salvation, it will endure while that world lasts, and continue to claim its present authority as long as that government over the present world may continue."
The above is an instance also of Pleonasm, which, though often enfeebling to style, as has been shown heretofore, is yet often a figure of great beauty. So, also, sometimes is ellipsis, its opposite. The latter hurries over its objects, the former detains them as long as possible ; and though at first sight it may appear strange that such opposite modes of speech should both be ornamental to style, they are alike founded in nature, and alike available to the purposes of the poet and the orator. They can not, indeed, both be beautiful in the same situation ; but each has its proper place, which could not be supplied by the other. Pleonasm employs a redundancy of expression, not, however, wit