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ly appears? What concur in producing language is found. Or Mr. Addisoli, this effect, at the beginnings of society; what is here remarked? What instance and why? To what are the savage is mentioned ? Repeat the passage, tribes of men always much given; and Having thus explained the origin, the what, consequently, is the effect of nature, and the effect of tropes, to what every new object? By what are they does our author next proceed ? In treatgoverned; and what follows? Of what ing of these, what would be the effect language do we find this to be the cha- of following the scholastic writers on racter? Of the style of an Indian chief's rhetoric? What has been their great harangue, what is observed ? In the business? What does our author proadvancement of language towards re-pose ? On what are all tropes, as was finement, why are perspicuity and before observed, founded ; and in virtue precision more studied ? But still, what of which, what can be done? What is must continue to occupy a considerable one of the first and most obvious of place? In every language, what do we these relations; and hence, what folfind ? In this case, are what terms? lows? What instance is given ? Here, Of those words which remain in a sort for what is the whole year plainly inof middle state, what is observed ? tended ? Repeat the instance in which What phrases are given as examples ? the effect is put for the cause? Of the In the use of such phrases, what will relation between the container, and the correct writers always preserve? How thing contained, what is observed ? is this illustrated ? Where are such at-What instances are given ? Of the retentions requisite? On what, does what lation between a sign, and the thing has been said on this subject tend to signified, what is observed ? To what throw light; and to what will it lead ? | tropes is the name Metonomy given? What is the first reason; and how does When is a trope called a Metalepsis ? this appear? In the second place, what When is the figure called a Synecis their effect? To what does the fami-doche? How is this illustrated ? To liarity of common words tend; and how give an opening of what, has enough is this il!ustrated ? Where is assistance been said } It is always an idea of what of this kind often needed; and where is kind; and with what force does it reit essential ? Hence, what do figures call the principal idea to the imaginaform ; and how is this illustrated? In tion? What relation is far the most the third place, what peculiar pleasure fruitful in tropes ? On it, what is founddo figures give us ? What do we see ; ed ; and what is observed of it? Of this and why? To illustrate this, what in- figure, what is farther remarked ? stance is given? At the same moment, what have we before us? In the fourth place, with what further advantages
ANALYSIS. are figures attended? Of this advantage, what is observed ; and for what Figures. reason? To illustrate this remark, what 1. Introductory remarks. sentence is introduced from Burke ? On 2. Origin and nature of figures. this sentence, what is remarked? How 3. Language most figurative in ito is the same principle illustrated from
early state. Dr. Young ? What is the effect of such 4. The advantages of figures. an image as is here introduced ? Be A. They enrich language. sides, by figures, what effect can we B. They bestow dignity upon style. produce? When we want to render an c. They present two objects to our object beautiful or magnificent, what
view at the same time. course do we pursue; and what effect D. They render our views more is thereby produced ? In what lines of
distinct. Dr. Akenside is this effect of figures 5. The different kinds of figures. happily touched ? To what, does what A. Metonomy. has been explained, naturally lead ? B. Metalepsis. Repeat the remarks here introduced on c. Synecdoche. the present state of perfection, in which
AFTER the preliminary observations I have made, relating to figurative language in general, I come now to treat separately of such figures of speech, as occur most frequently, and require particular attention; and I begin with metaphor. This is a figure founded entirely on the resemblance which one object bears to another. Hence, it is much allied to simile, or comparison, and is indeed no other than a comparison expressed in an abridged form. When I say of some great minister, that he upholds the state, like a pillar which supports the weight of a whole edifice,' I fairly make a comparison; but when I say of such a minister that he is the pillar of the state,' it is now become a metaphor. The comparison betwixt the minister and a pillar, is made in the mind; but is expressed without any of the words that denote comparison. The comparison is only insinuated, not expressed: the one object is supposed to be so like the other, that, without formally drawing the comparison, the name of the one may be put in the place of the name of the other. The minister is the pillar of the state. This, therefore, is a more lively and animated manner of expressing the resemblances which imagination traces among objects. There is nothing which delights the fancy more, than this act of comparing things together, discovering resemblances between them, and describing them by their likeness. The mind thus employed, is exercised without being fatigued; and is gratified with the consciousness of its own ingenuity. We need not be surprised, therefore, at finding all language tinctured strongly with metaphor. It insinuates itself even into familiar conversation; and unsought, rises up of its own accord in the mind. The very words which I have casually employed in describing this, are a proof of what I say; tinctured, insinuates, rises up, are all of them metaphorical expressions, borrowed from some resemblance which fancy forms between sensible objects, and the internal operations of the mind; and yet the terms are no less clear, and perhaps, more expressive, than if words had been used which were to be taken in the strict and literal sense.
Though all metaphor imports comparison, and therefore is, in that respect, a figure of thought; yet, as the words in a metaphor are not taken literally, but changed from their proper to a figurative sense, the metaphor is commonly ranked among tropes or figures of words. But provided the nature of it be well understood, it signifies very little whether we call it a figure or a trope. I have confined it to the expression of resemblance between two objects. I must remark, however, that the word metaphor is sometimes used in a looser and more extended sense; for the application of a term in any figurative signification, whether the figure be founded on resem
blance, or on some other relation, which two objects bear to one another. For instance; when gray hairs are put for old age; as, “to bring one's gray hairs with sorrow to the grave;' some writers would call this a metaphor, though it is not properly one, but what rhetoricians call a metonymy; that is, the effect put for the cause; 'gray hairs' being the effect of old age, but not bearing any sort of resemblance to it. Aristotle, in his Poetics, uses metaphor in this extended sense, for any figurative meaning imposed upon a word; as a whole put for the part, or a part for the whole; a species for the genus, or a genus for the species. But it would be unjust to tax this most acute writer with any inaccuracy on this account; the minute subdivisions, and various names of tropes, being unknown in his days, and the invention of later rhetoricians. Now, however, when these divisions are established, it is inaccurate to call every figurative use of terms, promiscuously, a metaphor.
Of all the figures of speech, none comes so near to painting as metaphor. Its peculiar effect is to give light and strength to description; to make intellectual ideas, in some sort, visible to the eye, by giving them colour, and substance, and sensible qualities. In order to produce this effect, however, a delicate hand is required : for, by a very litile inaccuracy, we are in hazard of introducing confusion, in place of promoting perspicuity. Several rules, therefore, are necessary to be given for the proper management of metaphors. But before entering on these, I shall give one instance of a very beautiful metaphor, that I may show the figure to full advantage. I shall take my instance from Lord Bolingbroke's remarks on the History of England. Just at the conclusion of his work, he is speaking of the behaviour of Charles I, to his last parliament; 'In a word,' says he, about a month after their meeting, he dissolved them; and, as soon as he had dissolved them, he repented; but he repented too late of his rashness. Well might he repent; for the vessel was now full, and this last drop made the waters of bitterness overflow.' 'Here,' he adds, we draw the curtain, and put an end to our remarks. Nothing could be more happily thrown off. The metaphor, we see, is continued through several expressions. The vessel is put for the state, or temper of the nation, already full, that is, provoked to the highest by former oppressions and wrongs; this last drop, stands for the provocation recently received by the abrupt dissolution of the parliament; and the over flowing of the waters of bitterness, beautifully expresses all the effects of resentment, let loose by an exasperated people.
On this passage, we may make two remarks in passing. The one, that nothing forms a more spirited and dignified conclusion of a subject, than a figure of this kind happily placed at the close. We see the effect of it, in this instance. The author goes off with a good grace; and leaves a strong and full impression of his subject on the reader's mind. My other remark is, the advantage which a metaphor frequently has above a formal comparison. How much would the sentiment here have been enfeebled, if it had been ex
pressed in the style of a regular simile, thus: “Well might he repent; for the state of the nation, loaded with grievances and provocations, resembled a vessel that was now full, and this superadded provocation, like the last drop infused, made their rage and resent. ment, as waters of bitterness, overflow. It has infinitely more spirit and force as it now stands, in the form of a metaphor. Well might he repent: for the vessel was now full; and this last drop made the waters of bitterness overflow.'
Having mentioned, with applause, this instance from Lord Bolingbroke, I think it incumbent on me here to take notice, that, though I may have recourse to this author, sometimes, for examples of style, it is his style only, and not his sentiments, that deserve praise. It is indeed my opinion, that there are few writings in the English language, which, for the matter contained in them, can be read with less profit of fruit, than Lord Bolingbroke's works. His political writings have the merit of a very lively and eloquent style; but they have no other; being, as to the substance, the mere temporary productions of faction and party; no better, indeed, than pamphlets written for the day. His posthumous, or as they are called, his philosophical works, wherein he attacks religion, have still less merit; for they are as loose in the style as they are timsy in the reasoning. An unhappy instance, this author is, of parts and genius so miserably perverted by faction and passion, that, as his memory will descend to posterity with little honour, so his productions will soon pass, and are, indeed, already passing into neglect and oblivion.
Returning from this digression to the subject before us, I proceed to lay down the rules to be observed in the conduct of metaphors; and which are much the same for tropes of every kind.
The first which I shall mention, is, that they be suited to the nature of the subject of which we treat; neither too many, nor too gay, nor too elevated for it; that we neither attempt to force the subject, by means of them, into a degree of elevation which is not congruous to it; nor, on the other hand, allow it to sink below its proper dignity. This is a direction which belongs to all figurative language, and should be ever kept in view. Some metaphors are allowable, nay, beautiful, in poetry, which it would be absurd and unnatural to employ in prose; some may be graceful in orations, which would be very improper in historical or philosophical composition. We must remember, that figures are the dress of our sentiments. As there is a natural congruity between dress, and the character or rank of the person who wears it, a violation of which congruity never fails to hurt; the same holds precisely as to the application of figures to sentiment. The excessive, or unseasonable employment of them, is mere foppery in writing. It gives a boyish air to composition; and instead of raising a subject, in fact, diminishes its dignity. For, as in life, true dignity must be founded on character, not on dress and appearance, so the dignity of composition must arise from sentiment and thought, not from ornament. The affectation and parade of ornament, detract as much from an author, as they do from a man. Figures and metaphors, therefore, should on no occasion be stuck on too pro
fusely; and never should be such as refuse to accord with the strain of our sentiment. Nothing can be more unnatural, than for a writer to carry on a train of reasoning, in the same sort of figurative language, which he would use in description. When he reasons, we look only for perspicuity; when he describes, we expect embellishment; when he divides, or relates, we desire plainness and simplicity. One of the greatest secrets in composition is, to know when to be simple. This always gives a heightening to ornament, in its proper place. The right disposition of the shade, makes the light and colouring strike the more: ‘Is enim est eloquens,' says Cicero, qui et humilia subtiliter, et magna graviter, et mediocria temperatè potest dicere. Nam qui nihil potest tranquille, nihil leniter, nihil definitè, distinctè, potest dicere, is, cum non præparatis auribus inflammare rem cæpit, furere apud sanos, et quasi inter sobrios bacchari temulentus videtur.'* This admonition should be particularly attended to by young practitioners in the art of writing, who are apt to be carried away by an undistinguishing admiration of what is showy and forid, whether in its place or not.t
The second rule which I give, respects the choice of objects, from whence metaphors, and other figures, are to be drawn. The field for figurative language is very wide. All nature, to speak in the style of figures, opens its stores to us, and admits us to gather, from all sensible objects, whatever can illustrate intellectual or moral ideas. Not only the gay and splendid objects of sense, but the grave, the terrifying, and even the gloomy and dismal, may, on different occasions, be introduced into figures with propriety. But we must beware of ever using such allusions as raise in the mind disagreeable, mean, vulgar, or dirty ideas. Even when metaphors are chosen in order to vilify and degrade any object, an author should study never to be nauseous in his allusions. Cicero blames an orator of his time, for terming his enemy Stercus Curiæ;' quamvis sit simile,' says he, “tamen est deformis cogitatio similitudinis.' But, in subjects of dignity, it is an unpardonable fault to introduce mean and vulgar metaphors. In the treatise on the Art of Sinking, in Dean Swift's works, there is a full and humorous collection of instances of this kind,
* " He is truly eloqnent, who can discourse of humble subjects in a plain style, who can treat important ones with dignity, and speak of things which are of a middle nature, in a temperate strain. For one who, upon no occasion, can express himself in a calm, orderly, distinct manner, when he begins to be on fire before his readers are prepared to kindle along with him, has the appearance of raving like a madman anong persons who are in their senses, or of reeling like a drunkard in the midst of sober company."
+ What person of the least taste, can bear the following passage, in a late historian ? He is giving an account of the famous act of parliament against irregular marriages in England: The bill,' says he, 'underwent a great number of alterations and amendments, which were not effected without violent contest.' This is plain language, suited to the subject; and we naturally expect, that he should go on in the same strain, to tell us, that, after these contests, it was carried by a great majority of voices, and obtained the royal as. sent. But how does he express himself in finishing the period ? • At length, however, it was floated through both houses, on the tide of a great majority, and steered into the safe harbour of royal approbation. Nothing can be more p'ierile than such language. Smollet's History of England, as quoted in Critical Review for Oct. 1761, p. 251.