Abbildungen der Seite



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?"

A. 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 members-whence 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, 66 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.



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 for 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?

A. 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?

A. "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

weary, like a bird with wet plumage, driven in a storm from 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 foliage, 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."



Q. What do you understand by Antithesis?

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?

A. 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 sionally use it, and many very frequently. Q. Can you give any examples of its use?


"Yet, at thy call, the hardy tar pursued,
Pale, but intrepid; sad, but unsubdued."

Q. What is the chief rule for the use of this figure?

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 the blossom of wit, but it will never arrive at maturiy unless sound sense be the trunk and truth the root."

[ocr errors]

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?

A. 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."


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; it and not you would live in a " 5. The society of dead authors has this advantage over 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

[ocr errors]



10. As modesty is the richest ornament of a woman, the want of it for the better the thing, the worse will ever be its perversion; and if an angel falls, the transition must be to

« ZurückWeiter »