« PreviousContinue »
sure the return of autumn? The foliage of the woods has then lost its emerald hue, and wears in its place the varied tints of orange, brown, and yellow; the corn is ripe and ready for the reaper ; harvest commences, and merry boys and busy girls glean the loose ears of wheat and barley that lie scattered over the forsaken fields.
Winter follows autumn:-the beauties of nature are then shrouded in a mantle of snow; the lakes and rivers are frozen; no little floweret peeps above the surface of the ground, for its beauties 'would quickly be nipped by the cold piercing air.
Spring succeeds to winter :--and in spring gladness seems the nature of every living thing. Thus there is a perpetual round of the seasons; each has its own peculiar pleasures, and ungrateful indeed should we be, did we imagine either of them destitute of enjoyment.
Clara C. was one day walking with her father in the fields near their own house; it was a fine morning in May; the sun shone with unusual brightness ; the little choristers of the grove warbled songs of gratitude and praise ; and Clara participated, with youthful ardour, in the general feeling of joy.
At length, after a longer silence than usual, turning to her father, she inquired
· Papa, what do people mean when they talk about metaphor-poetical metaphor?"
“A metaphor, my love,” replied Mr. C., “is a comparison, or simile, without any words to point out that comparison.” “A comparison without any
words to point out that comparison-how, papa ? I do not quite comprehend.”
“ I will try to explain it more fully,” said her father. Suppose in speaking of a hero, Edward the First, for instance, I call him a lion, what do I mean by the appellation ?"
“ You mean, papa, that the qualities of the hero resemble those of the lion ; that as Edward the First was strong, and fierce, and bold, so a lion is strong, and fierce, and bold.”
Very well. Is there not a comparison in your mind between the qualities of the hero and those of the lion, though I merely used the term lion, and employed no words to point out that comparison ?"
“ Yes, papa.
This, then, is what is called a metaphor.”
66 I think I understand it now: but will you give me another example ?”
“ You have often heard of Dr. Johnson,
said Mr. C., -"a man whose extraordinary mental powers, profound knowledge, and extensive learning, justly entitle him to our respect and admiration: he is sometimes styled the Colos, SUS of Literature. Can you tell me why?"
“ Ah! I understand—I comprehend this at once, papa. A colossus signifies an immense statue-- very large, very great every way. I have heard of the immense colossus at Rhodes, between the legs of which, ships used to sail into the harbour. A colossus gives one an idea of amazing sizé, enormous bulk : Dr. Johnson is therefore compared to a colossus, styled a colossus, on account of the extent of his learning, his wonderful abilities, and his astonishing fund of knowledge. I understand this metaphor.”
“ Now for another," said Mr. C. “ Our great minister, Mr. Pitt, was sometimes termed the Pillar of the State. How do you account for this?"
“The, state--the constitution that is, the plan of government under which a people live together in the same society—is perhaps compared, at least you should
compare it in your own mind, to an edifice, a building. Mr. Pitt was, as I have heard you say, a great man, and he is, metaphorically, called the Pillar of the State, because he helped to support, to sustain, to uphold it, as a real pillar helps to sustain a real building. I understand now what you mean by an implied comparison. You used no words, in the present instance, to point out your meaning, but one must have been
very dull of comprehension to have misunderstood it.”
Metaphor,” said Mr. C., “is the natural style of the imagination and the passions; hence it is always used, and generally with correctness, by the untutored inhabitants of uncivilized countries. The North-American Indians, for instance, clothe every conception in image and metaphor: instead of saying,