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Pr. Henry. I'll make it greater, ere I part from thee, And all the budding honours on thy creft
I'll crop to make a garland for my head.
Firft part, Henry IV. a&t 5. fc. 9.
Figuring a man who hath acquired great reputation and honour to be a tree full of fruit;
-Oh, boys, this story
The world may read in me: my body's mark'd
Whose boughs did bend with fruit. But in one night,
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay my leaves;
Cymbeline, act 3. Sc. 3
Bleft be thy foul, thou king of fhells, faid Swaran of the dark-brown fhield. In peace thou art the gale of fpring; in war, the mountain-ftorm. Take now my hand in friendfhip, thou noble king of Morven.
Thou dwelleft in the foul of Malvina, fon of mighty Offian. My fighs arife with the beam of the eaft: my tears defcend with the drops of night. I was a lovely tree in thy prefence, Ofcar, with all my branches round me: but thy death came like a blast from the defart, and laid my green head low; the fpring returned with its fhowers, but no leaf of mine arofe.
I am aware that the term metaphor has been used in a more extenfive fenfe than I give it; but I thought it of confequence, in a difquifition of fome intricacy, to confine the term to its proper fenfe, and to feparate from it things that are diftinguifhed by different names. An allegory differs from a metaphor; and
what I would choofe to call a figure of speech, differs from both. 1 proceed to explain thefe differences. A metaphor is defined above to be an act of the imagination, figuring one thing to be another. An allegory requires no fuch operation, nor is one thing figured to be another: it confifts in choofing a fubject having properties or circumstances refembling thofe of the principal fubject; and the former is decribed in fuch a manner as to reprefent the latter; the fubject thus reprefented is kept out of view: we are left to difcover it by reflection; and we are pleafed with the difcovery, because it is our own work. Quintilian* gives the following inftance of an Allegory,
O navis, referent in mare te novi
and explains it elegantly in the following words: "Totufque ille Horatii locus, quo navim pro republica, fluctuum tempeftates pro bellis civilibus, portum pro pace atque concordia, dicit."
A finer or more correct allegory is not to be found than the following, in which a vineyard is made to reprefent God's own people the Jews.
Thou haft brought a vine out of Egypt: thou haft caft out the Heathen, and planted it. Thou didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were cov
ered with its thadow, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. Why halt thou then broken down her hedges, fo that all which pafs do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waîte it, and the wild beaft doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of hotts: look down from heaven, and behold, and vifit this vine, and the vineyard thy right hand hath planted, and the branch thou madest ftrong for thyfelf.
* L. 8. cap. 6. fe&. 2.
In a word, an allegory is in every respect fimilar to an hieroglyphical painting, excepting only that words are ufed inftead of colours. Their effects are precifely the fame: a hieroglyphic raifes two images in the mind; one feen, which reprefents one not feen: an allegory does the fame; the reprefentative fulject is described; and resemblance leads us to apply the defcription to the fubject reprefented. In a figure of fpeech, there is no fiction of the imagination employed, as in a metaphor, nor a reprefentative fubject introduced, as in an allegory. This figure, as its name implies, regards the expreffion only, not the thought; and it may be defined, the ufing a word in a fenfe different from what is proper to it. Thus youth, or the beginning of life, is expreffed figuratively by morning of life: morning is the beginning of the day; and in that view it is employed to fignify the beginning of any other feries, life especially, the progrefs of which is reckoned by days.
Figures of fpeech are referved for a feparate fection; but metaphor and allegory are fo much connected, that they must be handled together: the rules particularly for diftinguifhing the good from the bad, are common to both. We fhall therefore proceed to these rules, after adding fome examples to illuftrate the nature of an allegory. Horace, fpeaking of his love to Pyrrha, which was now extinguifhed, expreff eth himself thus:
Me tabulâ facer
Veftimenta maris Deo.
Carm. 1. 1. de 5.
Phoebus volentem prælia me loqui,
Carm. 1. 5. ode 15.
Queen. Great Lords, wife men ne'er fit and wail their lofs,
But cheerly feek how to redress their harms,
What though the maft be now thrown overboard,
And half our failors fwallow'd in the flood;
And give more ftrength to that which hath too much;
Third Part, Henry VI. a&t 5. fc. 5.
Oroonoko. Ha! thou haft rous'd
The lion in his den: he ftalks abroad,
Oroonoko, act 3. fc. 2.
My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. He fenced it, gathered out the ftones thereof, planted it with the choiceft vine, built a tower in the midst of it, and alfo made a wine-prefs therein: he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerufalem, and men of Judah, judge, 1 pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done? Wherefore, when I looked that it fhould bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it fhall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it thall be trodden down. And I will
lay it waste it shall not be pruned, nor digged, but there fhall come up briers and thorns: I will alfo command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hofts is the house of Ifrael, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant. Ifaiah, v. 1.
The rules that govern metaphors, and allegories, are of two kinds : the conftruction of thefe figures comes under the first kind; the propriety or impropriety of introduction comes under the other. I begin with rules of the firft kind; fome of which coincide with those already given for fimiles; fome are peculiar to metaphors and allegories.
And in the first place, it has been obferved, that a fimile cannot be agreeable where the refemblance is either too ftrong or too faint. This holds equally in metaphor and allegory; and the reafon is the fame in all. In the following inftances, the refemblance is too faint to be agreeable.
-But there's no bottom, none,
Ma cbeth, at 4. fc. 4.
The best way to judge of this metaphor, is to con vert it into a fimile; which would be bad, because there is fcarce any refemblance between luft and a ciftern, or betwixt enormous luft and a large ciftern.
He cannot buckle his diftemper'd caufe
Macbeth, act 5.fc. 2.
There is no refemblance between a diftempered caufe and any body that can be confined within a belt.