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Hine fi dura mihi paffus dicendus Ulysses,
Poet. lib. 2. I. 46.
Lastly, By this figure language is enriched, and tendered more copious ; in which respect, were there no other, a figure of speech is a happy invention. This property is finely touched by Vida :
Quinetiam agricolas ea fandi nota voluptas
Poet. lib. 3.1. go.
The beauties I have mentioned belong to every figure of speech. Several other beauties peculiar to one or other fort, I shall have occasion to remark af. terward.
Not only subjects, but qualities, actions, effects, may be expressed figuratively. Thus, as to subjects, the gates of breath for the lips, the watery kingdom for the ocean.
As to qualities, fierce for stormy, in the expression Fierce winter : Altus for profundus ; Altus puteus, Altum mare : Breathing for perspiring ; Breathing plants. Again, aš to actions, The sea raga es, Time will melt her frozen thoughts, Time kills grief. An effect is put for the cause, as lux for the fun ; and a cause for the effect, as boum labores for corn. The relation of resemblance is one plentiful fource of figures of speech ; and nothing is more common than to apply to one object the name of another that resembles it in any respect : height, size, and worldly greatness, resemble not each other, but the emotions they produce resemble each other, and prompted by this refemblance, we naturally express worldly greatness by height or fize : one feels a cerfain uneasiness in seeing a great depth ; and hence depth is made to express any thing disagreeable by excess, as depth of grief, depth of despair : again, height of place, and time long past, produce fimilar feelings ; and hence the expression, Ut altius repetam : distance in past time, producing a strong feeling, is put for any strong feeling, Nihil mihi antiquius nostra amicitia : shortness with relation to space, for shortness with relation to time, Brevis effe laboro, obscurus fio : suffering a punishment resembles paying a debt; hence pendere pænas. In the same manner, light may be put for glory, sunshine for prosperity, and weight for importance.
Many words, originally figurative, having, by long and constant use, lost their figurative power, are degraded to the inferior rank of proper terms.
Thus the words that express the operations of the mind, have in all languages been originally figurative : the reason holds in all, that when these operations came first under consideration, there was no other way
of defcribing them but by what they resembled : it was not practicable to give them proper names, as may be done to objects that can be ascertained by fight and touch. A soft nature, jarring tempers, weight of wo, pompous phrase, beget compassion, assuage grief, break a vow, bend the eye downward, shower down curses, drown'd in tears, wrapt in joy, warm’d with elo. quence, loaded with spoils, and a thousand other expresfions of the like nature, have lost their figurative sense. Some terms there are, that cannot be said to be either altogether figurative or altogether proper :
originally figurative, they are tending to simplica ity, without having lost altogether their figurative power. Virgil's Regina saucia cura, is perhaps one of these expressions : with ordinary readers, faucia will be considered as expressing simply the effect of grief; but one of a lively imagination will exalt the phrase into a figure.
For epitomising this subject, and at the same time for giving a clear view of it, I cannot think of a better method, than to present to the reader a list of the several relations upon which figures of speech are commonly founded. This list I divide into two tables ; one of subjects expressed figuratively, and one of attributes.
Subjects expressed figuratively. 1. A word proper to one subject employed figuratively to express a resembling subject.
There is no figure of speech fo frequent, as what is derived from the relation of resemblance. Youth, for example, is fignified figuratively by the morning of life. The life of a man resembles a natural day in several particulars : the morning is the beginning of day, youth the beginning of life; the morning is cheerful, so is youth, &c. By another resemblance, a bold warrior is termed the thunderbolt of war ; a multitude of troubles, a fea of troubles.
This figure, above all others, affords pleasure to the mind by variety of beauties. Beside the beauties above mentioned, common to all sorts, it possesses in particular the beauty of a metaphor or of a simile :
a figure VOL. II.
a figure of speech built upon resemblance, suggests always a comparison between the principal subject and the accessory; whereby every good effect of a metaphor or fimile, may in a short and lively manner, be produced by this figure of speech.
2. A word proper to the effect employed figuratively to express the cause.
Lux for the fun. Shadow for cloud. A helmet is signified by the expression glittering terror. A tree by shadow or umbrage. Hence the expression :
Nec habet Pelion umbras.
Where the dun umbrage hangs.
Spring, l. 1023.
A wound is made to signify an arrow :
Ovid. There is a peculiar force and beauty in this figure : the word which signifies figuratively the principal subject, denotes it to be a cause by suggesting the effect.
3. A word proper to the cause, employed figuratively to express the effcet.
Boumque labores, for corn. tears.
Sorrow or grief, for
Again Ulysses veil'd his penfive head;
Streaming Grief his faded cheek bedew'd.
Blindness for darkness :
Cæcis erramus in undis.
Æneid, üi. 200.
There is a peculiar energy in this figure, similar to that in the former : the figurative name denotes the subject to be an effect, by suggesting its cause.
4. Two things being intimately connected, the proper name of the one employed figuratively to fignify the other.
Day for light. Night for darkness ; and hence, A sudden night. Winter for a storm at sea :
Interea magno misceri murmure pontum,
Æneid, i. 128. This last figure would be too bold for a British writer, as a storm at sea is not inseparably connected with winter in this climate.
5. A word proper to an attribute, employed figura atively to denote the subject.
Youth and beauty for those who are young and beautiful:
Youth and beauty shall be laid in dust.
What art thou, that usurp'lt this time of night,
Hamlet, all 1.fe.t.
Or have ye chosen this place