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weary, like a bird with wet plumage, driven in a storm srom its nest, and timidly seeking shelter. It is the Mayflower, thrown on the bosom of Winter. The very sea is freezing: the earth is as still as the grave, covered with snow, and as hard as iron; there is no sign of a human habitation; the deep forests have lost their fo. iage, and rise over the land like a shadowy congregation of skeletons. Yet there is a band of human beings on board that weather-beaten vessel, and they have voluntarily come to this savage coast to spend the rest of their lives, and to die there. Eight thousand miles they have struggled across the ocean, from a land of plenty and comfort, from their own beloved country, from their homes, firesides, friends, to gather around an altar to God, in the winter, in the wilderness! What does it all mean? It marks to a noble mind, the invaluable blessedness of freedom to worship God.”
A. “It is a figure by which words and ideas very different, or contrary, are placed together in contrast or opposition, that they may mutually set off and illustrate each other." Q. To what figure is antithesis most opposed ?
Ă. To comparison, which is founded on resemblance ; while antithesis is founded on contrast or opposition.
Q. For what purpose are objects generally contrasted ?
A. For the purpose of more strongly marking their difference; as white never appears so bright as when contrasted with black.
Q. Is it a common figure ?
A. Perhaps the most so of any, as all writers occa bionally use it, and many very frequently.
Q. Can you give any examples of its use?
Pale, but intrepid; sad, but unsubdued."
A. To introduce it but sparingly, and let the ground of the contrast be always of a solid nature, not depending upon mere caprice ; for “antithesis may be che blossom of wit, but it will never arrive at maturiy unless sound sense be the trunk and truth the root."
Q. What effect have unnatural antitheses upon style?
A. They render it stiff and affected, and give it too much of a contentious air.
Q. Is antithesis always confined to single words?
Ă. No; for one sentence or one paragraph, as well is one word, may be, and often is, set in opposition o another.
A fine example of this is the following paragraph from the “Poetry of Life,” by Mrs. Ellis, designed to show the wonderful adaptation of the Bible to every variety of human nature, feeling, and condition, as one of the clearest evidences of its Divine origin:
“Coeval with the infancy of time—it still remains, and widens in the circle of its intelligence. Simple as the language of a child-it charms the most fastidious taste. Mournful as the voice of grief-it reaches to the highest pitch of exultation. Intelligible to the unlearned peasant-it supplies the critic and the sage with food for earnest thought. Silent and secret as the reproofs of conscience-it echoes beneath the vaulted dome of the cathedral, and shakes the trembling multitude. The last companion of the dying and destitute-it seals the bridal vow, and crowns the majesty of kings. Closed in the heedless grasp of the luxurious and the slothful-it unfolds its awful record over the yawning grave. Bright and joyous as the morning star to the benighted traveler-it
rolls like the waters of the deluge over the path of him who willfully mistakes his way.”
EXERCISES. Fill up the blanks in the following antitheses : 1. The science of the mathematics performs more than it promises, but the science of metaphysics
2. It shows much more stupidity to be grave at a good thing than
3. It has been well observed that the tongue discovers the state of the mind no less than
; but in either case, before the philosopher or the physician can judge, the patient must open his mouth. Taci turnity is wise if men are fools, but 4. If you would be known and not
,, vegetate in a village ; il and not
live in a 5. The society of dead authors has this advantage over
that they never flatter us to our faces, nor slander us behind our backs.
6. Examinations are formidable to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the
7. It is better to have recourse to a quack, if he can cure our disorder, although he can not explain it, than
8. There is this difference between happiness and wisdom; he that thinks himself the happiest man really is so, but he that
9. An Irishman fights before he reasons; a Scotchman
10. As modesty is the richest ornament of a woman, the want of it i for tne better the thing, the worse will ever be its perversion; and if an angel falls, the transition must be to
11. Where we can not invent, wo may at least improve ; we may give somewhat of novelty to condensation to perspicuity to and currency to
12. It is sufficiently humiliating to our nature, to reflect that our knowl edge is but as the rivulet, our
13. He that will not permit his wealth to do any good to others while he is alive, prevents
OF HYPERBOLE AND IRONY. Q. What do you understand by Hyperbole?
A. The representation of a thing as either far greater, or far less, better or worse, than it is in reality : greater, as when we call a tall person a giant, or steeple; less, as when we say of a lean man he is a mere skeleton, or a shadow. Q. On what is this figure founded ?
A. On that propensity in human nature, which prompts either to extol or vilify, beyond measure, whatever excites admiration or creates dislike.
Q. Of what, then, is it generally the result ?
A. Either of strong passion, or of want of due discrimination. Q. Is it a common figure of speech?
A. Very common in the conversation of passionate and ignorant people ; and it is frequently to be found in the compositions of all bombastic writers.
Q. Is it, then, a figure always to be avoided ?
A. By no means; it gives vivacity to the expression, and sometimes entertains by presenting a ludicrous image; and it may be, and often is used with excellent effect, especially when it is the spontaneous result of strong feeling. Q. Can you give examples of this latter kind ?
A. “ They were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions."
“ Rivers of waters run down mine
eyes because they keep not thy law."
What do you mean by Irony? A. The expression of strong reproof or censure, under the appearance of praise.
Q. How, then, must the true meaning be known?
A. By the circumstances of the speaker in relation to the object that he means to censure.
6. A per
Q. What end does irony serve?
A. It often gives greater poignancy to reproof, as it is generally calculated to bring ridicule upon the object to which it is applied.
Q. How is it best applied ?
A. In reproving folly or vice ; for, as applied to persons, it more frequently produces irritation than amendment.
Q. Can you give an example of this figure ?
A. In saying of a very impudent fellow, son of his distinguished modesty could surely not be guilty of such a deed,” would be an instance of strong irony, in which is said the very opposite of what is intended.
Q. What is the rule for the use of hyperbole and irony?
In regard to hyperbole, care is to be taken, in the use of it, not to lead others into any mistake concerning the real nature of things. The frequent use of this figure is offensive to persons of taste, and also to those who have a strict regard for truth.
It is not needful to present exercises for the practice of the student, as every person is liable, without instruction, to a too frequent use of this figure.
In regard to irony, it is sometimes entertaining, by giving variety and vivacity to discourse, but becomes offensive when too frequent. It has been employed by teachers of respectable and even of sacred characters, in exposing folly and absurdity. For instances, see i Kings, xviii., 27; Eccles., xi., 9; Mark, vii., 9. Socrates used it happily for the instruction of his friends and the confutation of the sophists, and thence got the name of 'O elpwv, or the ironical philosopher.
Care should be taken in the use of this trope, that there be such a choice of words and such an accent in pronunciation, as that our meaning may not be misunderstood; and with respect to all other tropes and figures, care should be taken that our meaning be cleared and enforced, but never obscured or weakened, by the use of them.
Q. Can you give an illustration of the danger sometimes attend. ant upon the use of irony and raillery?
A. The talented author of “ Lacon," having remarked that some good-natured fellows have thus lost their lives, at the hands of a foe who found it easier to point a sword than a repartee, proceeds to illustrate his position as follows:
“I have heard of man in the province of Bengal, who had been a long time very successful in hunting the tiger. His skill gained him great éclat, and insured him much diversion; at length he narrowly escaped with his life; he then relinquished the sport with this observation: *Tiger hunting is very fine amusement, so long as we hunt the tiger, but it is rather awkward when the tiger takes it into his head to hunt us.'
“ Again, this skill in small wit, like skill in small arms, is very apt to beget a confidence which may prove fatal in the end. We may either mistake the proper moment, for even cowards have their fighting days, or we may mistake the proper man.
A certain Savoyard got his livelihood by exhibiting a monkey and a bear. He gained so much applause from his tricks with the monkey, that he was encouraged to practice some of them on the bear. He was dreadfully lacerated, and on being rescued with great difficulty from the gripe of Bruin, he exclaimed, What a fool was I not to distinguish between a monkey and a bear! A bear, my friends, is a very grave kind of personage, and, as you plainly see, does not understand a joke!'
EXAMPLES OF IRONY.
Their works, no doubt-at least, in a translation;
I scorn equivocation or evasion,
By centuries, and in the wrong place, too;
Velocipede, or Quarterly Review ;
Art, science, taste, and talent; and a stroll
More than ten years' hard study of the whole