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a vast number of divisions, according to all LECT. the several modes in which a word may be carried from its literal meaning, into one that is Figurative, without doing any more ; as if the mere knowledge of the names and classes of all the Tropes that can be formed, could be of any advantage towards the proper or graceful use of Language. All that I purpose is, to give, in a few words, before finishing this Lecture, a general view of the several sources whence the tropical meaning of words is derived: after which I shall, in subsequent. Lectures, descend to a more particular consideration of some of the most considerable Figures of Speech, and such as
are in most frequent use; by treating of which, I shall give all the instruction I can, concerning the proper employment of Figurative Language, and point out the errors and abuses which are apt to be committed in this part of Style.
All Tropes, as I before observed, are founded on the relation which one object bears to another; in virtue of which, the name of the one can be substituted instead of the name of the other; and by such a substitution, the vivacity of the idea is commonly meant to be increased. These relations, some more, some less intimate, may all give rise to Tropes. : One of the first and most obvious relations is,
LECT, that between a cause and its effect. Hence,
in Figurative Language, the cause is, fometimes, put for the effect. Thus, Mr. Addison, writing of Italy :
Blossoms, and fruits, and flowers, together rife,
Where the " whole year” is plainly intended, to fignify the effects or productions of all the seasons of the year.
At other times, again, the effect is put for the cause; as, grey " hairs” frequently for old age, which causes grey hairs; and “ shade,” for trees that produce the shade. The relation between the container and the thing contained, is also so intimate and obvious, as naturally to give rise to Tropes :
İlle impiger hausit
Where every one sees, that the cup and the gold are put for the liquor that was contained in the golden cup. In the same manner, the name of any country, is often used to denote the inhabitants of that country; and Heaven, very commonly employed to signify God, be: cause he is conceived as dwelling in Heaven. To implore the assistance of Heaven, is the fame as to implore the assistance of God. The Gelation betwixt any established sign and the
thing signified, is a further source of Tropes. Lect. Hence,
Cedant arma toga; concedat laurea linguæ. The “ toga,” being the badge of the civil profeffions, and the “ laurel,” of military honours, the badge of each is put for the civil and military characters themselves. To " af“ fume the sceptre," is a common phrase for entering on royal authority. To Tropes, founded on these several relations, of cause and effect, container and contained, sign and thing signified, is given the name of Metonymy.
When the Trope is founded on the relation between an antecedent and a consequent, or what goes before, and immediately follows, it is then called a Metalepsis ; as in the Roman phrase of “ Fuit,” or “ Vixit,” to express that one was dead. “Fuit Ilium et ingens
gloria Dardanidum,” signifies, that the glory of Troy is now no more.
When the whole is put for a part, or a part for the whole; a genus for a species, or a species for a genus; the fingular for the plural, or the plural for the fingular number; in general, when any thing less, or any thing more, is put for the precise object meant; the Figure is then called a SyVOL. I.
LECT. necdoche. It is very common, for instance,
to describe a whole object by some remarkable part of it; as, when we say, “ A Aeet " of so many fail,” in the place of “ ships;” when we use the "c head” for the " person," the “ pole” for the “ earth,” the “waves" for the sea." In like manner, an attri. bute may be put for a subject; as, “ Youth " and Beauty,” for “ the young and beau" tiful ;” and sometimes a subject for its attribute. But it is needless to insist longer on this enumeration, which serves little purpose. I have said enough, to give an opening into that great variety of relations between objects, by means of which, the mind is affifted to pass easily from one to another ; and by the name of the one understands the other to be meant. It is always some accessory idea, which recals the principal to the imagination, and commonly recals it with more force, than if the principal idea had been expressed.
The relation which is far the most fruitful of Tropes, I have not yet mentioned; that is the relation of Similitude and Resemblance. On this is founded what is called the Metaphor : when, in place of using the proper name of any object, we employ, in its place, the name of some other which is like it; which is a sort of picture
of it, and which thereby awakens the concep- LECT. tion of it with more force or grace. This figure is more frequent than all the rest put together; and the language, both of prose and verse, owes to it much of its elegance and grace. This, therefore, deserves very full and particular consideration; and shall be the subject of the next Lecture.
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