Page images
[ocr errors]

Hurry and Cunning are the two apprentices of Dispatch and Skill; but neither of them ever learns his master's trade."

“ The greatest friend of Truth is Time; her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility:”

“Every where new pleasures, new interests awaited me; and though Melancholy, as usual, stood always near, her shadow fell but half way over my vagrant path, and left the rest more wel. comely brilliant from the contrast.”

How beautiful is the following language, which represents the wind as murmuring through the pine trees on Mount Pelion :

" And Pelion shook his fiery locks, and talk'd

Mournfully to the fields of Thessaly.”



Q. What do you mean by an Apostrophe ?

À. A sudden address to a dead or absent person, as if he were alive or present, and could hear, and be affected by what is spoken.

Q. What is the character of this figure ?

A. It is the boldest and most striking of all the figures, and always betokens the greatest warmth and fervor of mind.

Q. Can you give an example ?

A. One of the most striking is that of David lamenting the death of his son Absalom: “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom! would to God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my

Q. Is this figure ever used in reference to inanimate objects ?

A. Frequently; and when so employed, it is always blended with personification; we first personify, and then apostrophize.

Q. Can you give an example of this?

Ă. “Ye mountains of Gilboa, let tnere be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast


away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil." Q. When may this figure be said to be improperly applied ?

A. When the object addressed is decked out in the garb of flowery language, or loaded with any sort of studied ornament.

Q. What is faulty in this?

A. It is contrary to nature ; for this figure, being the product of highly-excited feeling, must never appear as the result of art or labor.

Q. Is there any other error connected with the use of this figure?

A. Yes; there is that of extending it too far, which must, on all occasions, destroy its effect, as giving it the appearance of being too studied and artificial.


[Let the pupil point out the apostrophe in each.] Daniel Webster, in addressing the surviving patriots of the Revolution that were before him on a certain occasion, remarked :

“But, alas ! you are not all here! Time and the sand have thinned your ranks. Prescott, Putnam, Stark, Brooks, Read, Pomeroy, Bridge! our eyes seek for you in vain amid this broken band. You are gathered to your fathers, and live only to your country in her grateful remembrance and your own bright example.”

E. Everett, in a Eulogy on Lafayette, spoke as follows:

“You have now assembled within these celebrated walls, to perform the last duties of respect and love, on the birthday of your benefactor, beneath that roof which has resounded of old with the master voices of American renown. Lister Americans, to the lessons which seem borne to us on the very air we breathe, while we perform these dutiful rites! Ye winds that wafted the Pilgrims to the land of promise, fan, in their childrens' hearts, the love of freedom! Blood, which our fathers shed, cry from the ground! Echoing arches of this renowned hall, whisper back the voices of other days! Glorious Washington, break he long silence of that votive canvas ; speak, speak, marble lips, teach us the love of liberty protected by law.


OF METONYMY AND SYNECDOCHE. Q. What do you understand by Metonymy?

A. That figure of speech by which we put the cause for the effect, or the effect for the cause; the container for the thing contained, or the sign for the thing signified.

Q. Can you give an example of each of these?

A. “I am reading Milton;" “Gray hairs should be respected ;"

;" “ The kettle is boiling;" “ He has at last assumed the sceptre.”

Q. Can you explain the figures here used ?

A. Milton is taken for his works, which is the cause for the effect; gray hairs for old age, which is the effect for the cause; the kettle for the water in it, which is the container for the thing contained ; and the sceptre for kingly power, which is the sign for the thing signified. Q. And what do you mean by Synecdoche ?

A. That figure by which we put the whole for a part, or a part for the whole ; a genus for a species, or a species for a genus; or any thing less, or any thing more, for the precise object meant.

Q. Can you give a more full account of the synecdoche ?

Ă. There are several sorts of wholes, and, consequently, of parts; and hence a variety of synecdoches. A whole genus is made up of its several species - a whole essence of its matter and its form-a whole system of its several parts or memberswhence three synecdoches when we use the name of the whole for a part, and other three when we use the name of a part for the whole : so this trope may be used in six different forms.

(1.) When the name of the genus is put for that of one of the species comprehended under it; as when we call a dull man a stupid animal.

(2.) When the name of a species is put for that of the genus; as when we speak of a garrison put to the sword, that is, killed by warlike weapons in general; or when a man is said to get his bread by his industry

that is, to get the necessaries of life, of which bread is only one species.

(3.) When the name of the whole essence is put for one of its constituent parts, as in epitaphs, “here lies such a man,” that is, the body of such a man.

(4.) The reverse of this ; as, “I can not change your shilling, for I have no copper,” that is, copper coin Thus soul is put for person: "this town contains two thousand souls." We say, too, a good soul, a dear soul. We also speak of ten head of cattle. This last mode of speaking, in which the noun does not take the plural termination even when plurality is signified, we use of beasts only, or of men in contempt; as when Pope says,

a hundred head of Aristotle's friends," where a double contempt is intended, first, that the commentators on Aristotle were as dull as oxen or cattle; and, secondly, that, as individuals, they were so insignificant and had so little character, that they deserved to be reckoned by the dozen only, or by the hundred.

(5.) The fifth form of the synecdoche is, when the name of any part of any material system is put for the whole; as when we speak of a sail, meaning a ship at sea, or say, all hands were at work, meaning the men.

(6.) When the name of a whole system is put for that of a part of it; as when, in ancient authors, the Roman Empire is called the world.

Q. To what figure is synecdoche most allied ? A. To metonymy; both being figures of a similar kind, but founded upon different relations.


OF CLIMAX AND ENUMERATION. Q. What do you mean by a Climax ?

A. A series of members in a sentence, each rising in importance above the one which precedes it, from the first to the last. Q. When may a climax be considered as best constructed ? A. When the last idea of the former member be

comes the first of the latter, and so on to the end of the series.

Q. Can you give an example of this figure ?

A. “What hope is there remaining of liberty, if whatever is their pleasure, it is lawful for them to do; if what is lawful foi them to do, they are able to do; if what they are able to do, they dare do; if what they dare do, they really execute; and if what they execute is no way offensive to you ?".

Q. What is the character of this figure ?

A. It is extremely beautiful; and, when properly managed, is calculated to make a powerful impression upon the mind of the reader or hearer. Q. By whom is it chiefly used ?

A. Chiefly by orators, though other writers also frequently avail themselves of its use. Q. What is Enumeration ?

Ă. A series of particulars merely, without that gradual increase in point of importance, which the climax exhibits, and necessarily implies.

Q. Can you give an example?

1. “The Bible is, beyond all controversy, the best book of education in the world. It is the best book for the formation of children's minds, the best book for their acquisition and preservation of a pure idiomatic style in their national language, the best book to promote and secure the purposes of family government, the best book to make our children enlightened and good citizens of the republic, the best book, in fine, to preserve them from all evil, and train them up in all good."-Cheever.

Q. Are not climax and enumeration sometimes conjoined?

A. They are in the above example, but more so in the following :

“How small a portion of our life it is that we really enjoy. In youth, we are looking forward to things that are to come ; in old age we are looking backward to things that are gone past; in manhood, although we appear, indeed, to be more occupied in things that are present, yet even that is too often absorbed in vague determinations to be vastly happy on some future day, when we have time.”-Colton.

Daniel Webster once uttered the following memorable climax “Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country.”

The landing of the Pilgrims, in 1620, has been thus painted by G. B. Cheever in his Lectures on Bunyan :

" It is a lowering winter's day; on a coast, rock-bound and perilous, sheeted with ice and snow, hovers a small vessel, worn and

« PreviousContinue »