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ceit and anger, which, in reality, are felt by living creatures only: to the inanimate objects, a dart, a disease, and the ocean.
2. When inanimate objects are represented as acting like those which have life. Thus: Lands inter
sected by a narrow frith, abhor each other.'
The calm shade
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze
Here the words in italic show in what the personification consists; namely, in representing the lands abhorring, the shade bringing, the leaves dancing, and the breeze wafting.
3. When they are represented as speaking to us, or listening to what we say. Thus:
''Hand and voice,
Awake, awake! and thou, my heart, awake!
Here the hand, voice, heart, green fields, icy cliffs, and the mountain, are represented as if they were listening to the speaker.
Apostrophe is an address to a real person, who is either absent or dead, as if he were present and listening to us; as, 'Oh, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, oh Absalom, my son.' Things are sometimes addressed as well as persons; as, ' O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory!'
The following is an instance of personification and apostrophe united: 'O thou sword of the Lord! how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put thyself into thy scabbard, rest and be still! How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Askelon, and against the sea-shore? there hath he appointed it.'
ANTITHESIS, OR CONTRAST.
Antithesis is the reverse of comparison; for as the
latter in general, signifies, or is founded on resem blance, the former implies contrast, opposition, distinction, or difference.
Antithesis is frequently used where we wish to give a clearer impression of our meaning;-to show the truth or absurdity of an opinion; the excellence, or the inferiority of a subject; or to exhibit in a more lucid manner, the difference, or distinction between two things. White, for instance, never appears so bright as when opposed to black; and when both are viewed together. The following extract is a good model of the use of this figure.
'No two feelings of the human mind, are more opposite than pride and humility. Pride is founded on a high opinion of ourselves-humility, on the consciousness of the want of merit. Pride is the offspring of ignorance-humility is the child of wisdom. Pride hardens the heart-humility softens the temper and the disposition. Pride is deaf to the clamors of conscience, -humility listens with reverence to the monitor within; and finally, pride rejects the counsels of reason, the voice of experience, the dictates of religion, while humility, with a docile spirit, thankfully receives instruction from all who address her in the garb of truth.'
The unfigured, literal use of interrogation, is to ask a question: but when men are strongly moved, whatever they would affirm or deny, with great earnestness, they naturally put it into the form of a question, expressing thereby the strongest confidence of the truth of their sentiment, and appealing to their hearers for the impossibility of the contrary. Thus Balaam expressed himself to Balak: 'The Lord is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said it? and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken it? and shall he not make it good?'
Interrogation gives life and spirit to discourse. see this in the animated, introductory speech of Cicero against Catalinë: "How long will you, Cataline, abuse our patience? Do you not perceive that your
designs are discovered? He might have said: 'You abuse our patience a long while. You must be sensible that your designs are discovered.' But it is easy to perceive, how much this latter mode of expression falls short of the force and vehemence of the former.
Exclamations are the effect of strong emotions of the mind; such as surprise, admiration, joy, grief, &c. 'Wo is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!'-Psalms. 'O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night, for the slain of the daughter of my people! O that I had in the wilderness a lodgingplace of way-faring men.'-Jeremiah.
Though Interrogations may be introduced into close and earnest reasoning, exclamations belong only to strong emotions of the mind. When judiciously employed, they agitate the hearer or the reader with similar passions: but it is extremely improper, and sometimes ridiculous to use them on trivial occasions, and on mean or low subjects. The unexperienced writer often attempts to elevate his language, by the copious display of this figure; but he rarely or never succeeds. He frequently renders his composition frigid to excess, or absolutely ludicrous, by calling upon us to enter into his transports, when nothing is said or done to demand or excite emotion.
Vision is a figure of speech, which is proper in warm and animated composition. It is used to represent something future, as though it were now actually passing before our eyes. Thus Cicero, in his fourth oration against Cataline: 'I seem to myself to behold this city, the ornament of the earth, and the capital of all nations, suddenly involved in one conflagration. I see before me the slaughtered heaps of citizens, lying unburied in the midst of their ruined country. The furious countenance of Cethegus rises to my view, while with a savage joy, he is triumphing in their miseries.' This manner of description supposes a sort of enthu
siasm, which carries the person who describes, in some measure out of himself; and when well executed, must needs, by the force of sympathy, impress the reader or hearer very strongly. But, in order to a successful+ execution, it requires an uncommonly warm imagination, and so happy a selection of circumstances, as shall make us think we see before our eyes the scene that is described.
Irony is expressing ourselves in a manner contrary to our thoughts, not with a view to deceive, but to add force to our observations. Persons may be reproved for their negligence, by saying; You have taken great care indeed.'
Ironical exhortation is a very agreeable kind of figure; which, after having set the inconveniences of a thing in the clearest light, concludes with a feigned encouragement to pursue it. Such is that of Horace, when, having beautifully described the noise and tumults of Rome, he adds ironically;
'Go now, and study tuneful verse at Rome.'
The subject of Irony are vices and follies of every kind; and this method of exposing them, is often more effectual than serious reasoning. The gravest persons have not declined the use of this figure, on suitable occasions. The wise and virtuous Socrates made great use of it, in his endeavors to discountenance vicious and foolish practices. Even in the sacred writings, we have a remarkable instance of it. The prophet Elijah, when he challenged the priests of Baal to prove the truth of their deity, Mocked them, and said: Cry aloud, for he is a god: either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.'
Exclamations and Irony are sometimes united, as in Cicero's oration for Balbus, where he derides his accuser, by saying, 'O excellent interpreter of the law! master of antiquity! correcter and amender of our constitution!'
AMPLIFICATION, OR CLIMAX.
Amplification, or Climax, is the gradual ascent of a
subject from a less to a higher interest. It generally forms an artful exaggeration of the circumstances of some object or action, which we wish to place in a strong light.
The following are examples of this figure; There is no enjoyment of property without government; no government without a migistrate; no magistrate without obedience; and no obedience where every one does as he pleases.'
The state of society in large cities necessarily produces luxury; and luxury gives birth to avarice; while avarice begets boldness, and boldness is the parent of depravity and crime.”
But I would have you to know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.'
There are some cases in which the terms descend, as in the following: 'His offence deserved not the punishment of crucifixion; nay, not of death; nay, not of stripes; nay, not of imprisonment;-nay, not even of censure; nor yet of disapprobation.'
In addressing notes to several persons of the same name and family, there seems to be a general misunderstanding whether the name or the title should be pluralized. Thus, if a note is to be addressed to several ladies of the name of Brown, by some, the note would be directed to The Miss Browns; and by others, to The Misses Brown. In like manner the address, to The Mr. Browns and the Messrs. Brown, prevail respectively with different individuals. Now in order to ascertain which of these is the most proper, we must recollect that every title is expressed in an elliptical form. When we say John the Apostle, we mean John who was the Apostle; when we say Miss Brown, we mean the Miss who is called Brown, or the Miss by the name of Brown. This view of the subject seems to determine the propriety of the address to The Misses Brown; The Messrs. Brown, &c.
It is a good exercise in epistolary writing, to write a billet or letter to a fictitious or real person, announcing some event, or upon any subject whatever.