« PreviousContinue »
bellishes that idea-serves to distinguish and adorn it, Morning and Evening are perpetually represented under some popular and pleasing image: . . * Now morn, her rosy steps in theastern elime
Advancing, strewed the earth with orient pearl,' This is figurative language. Can yoù tell me what the poet means 'by orient pearls
“Ah! papa, I understand—at least I think I understand it. It must mean dew'; for you know that the trees, and shrubs, and flowers, and grass, are bespangled every fine morning with bright glistening dew-drops ; these dew-drops are figuratively called orient pearl, becausë orient signifies rising as the sun, bright, shining—and pearls are pretty transparent little things, somewhat resembling dew-drops." 6066 Very well. This also is figurative language: . But see the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dews of yon-high eastern hin.'
And this likewise : "ici;
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray · Had in her sober livery all things clad.' ..“ Just think of the gradual change that takes place in the appearance of yonder hills as evening advances, and you will be at no loss to comprehend these beautiful lines. Every object is then, clothed in a sombre hue, and the verdure of the fields is changed by degrees from a bright emerald green to a dark blue gray—until they are clad in a
sober livery,' as the poet says. Simile is something like metaphor only that in the former the two subjects compared are kept distinct in the expression as well as in the thought; in a metaphor, they are kept distinct in the thought, but not in the expression. If I had said a hero resembles a lion, I should have used a simile; whereas when I call a hero a lion, I use a metaphor: in the former case the comparison is expressed; in the latter, it is only implied. I will give you another example of a simile, and then we will turn our attention to some other subject, as it is better to learn a little at a time, and to understand that little thoroughly, than to learn a great deal imperfectly.
“The piece to which I allude is called « The Myrtle: * Bright glow'd the myrtle's verdant pride, ;
That near my lowly cottage sprung ;
The tree no grateful odours fung.
And all its tender leaflets press'd; :: When, pouring forth its hidden store,
Its native sweetness stood confess’d. 'T'is thus in life's untroubled day,
The virtuous mind its charms withholds ; Nor always ventures to display;
That excellence the heart infolds. But when severe misfortunes rise,
Its genuine worth is felt and proy’d; And whilst it suffers, droops, and dies,
'Tis doubly cherish'd, doubly lov'd.: *. “ This, my dear Clara, is a simile ; vou must exercise some little ingenuity
* Poems, by a Family Circle.
in order to convince me that you understand it.” - Clara was an intelligent girl; she walked for some time in silence as though endeavouring to enter fully into the subject before attempting an explanation. At length she said, : “The sweet-brier is fragrant at any time, papa, but the myrtle is only fragrant when it is rubbed in our hands. I have often noticed when gathering a sprig of the little double-blossomed myrtle, which mamma gave me last summer, that it will smell sweet and fragrant if its : tender leaflets are pressed, although it would not smell at all before. You call the little poem you have been repeating, a simile, because there is a comparison in it. In the first place, the myrtle is considered as an emblem of a virtuous person, whose genuine worth is not known until something happens, to call it forth :--the myrtle does not
emit its fragrance, until the branch is rudely torn—and then it does-it is indeed, papa, I cannot go on-I understand what is meant by the comparison of the myrtle with the virtuous mind, but I do not know how to explain it.”
“ The fragrance of the myrtle remains unknown so long as the plant remains unnoticed," said Mr. C.; “ as you have proved is the case with your little double-blossomed myrtle. Just so the amiable qualities of a virtuous individual may remain unobserved and unknown until some sudden adversity or affliction shall call those qualities into notice, when our love and regard for the possessor are increased just as our admiration of the myrtle is increased on an acquaintance with its hidden charms.
“Do you understand this simile?"