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to be one of the finest in the whole circle of knowledge, both for the development and discipline of the intellect, and the evolution and refinement of the taste. The application of the characteristics and laws to the identification and interpretation of the figures of the sacred word, though after practice involving little difficulty, requires close and discriminative attention ; and the perception of the analogies on which they are founded, and the delicate graces with which they are fraught, is eminently adapted to unfold and quicken the sensibility to what is beautiful and grand, and imbue the taste with delicacy and elegance.
The seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth chapter, on musical feet and the modulation of verse, should be studied immediately after the introduction, that their principles may be applied by the learner to the passages from the poets that occur in the chapters on the figures.
THE NATURE OF FIGURES THEIR TWO CLASSES-THEIR
A Figure of Speech is a mode of expression in which a word or thing is used in an artificial manner, in order to a more forcible presentation of thought, or the illustration and embellishment of that to which it is applied. Thus in the sentencethe clouds fly—there is a figure in the use of the verb, which properly denotes the movement of a bird or insect by its wings, but is applied by a metaphor to the clouds borne forward by the wind, to express more clearly and strongly the ease and rapidity of their motion, and makes the phrase equivalent to a comparison of their movement to that of a bird; as in the simile—the clouds move like a bird ; or they are borne on as though they moved by wings.
In this simile, however, instead of a word, it is the act itself of a bird, or a movement by wings, that is used in the figure. In like manner, it is an act that is used in the following comparisons; the clouds, gathered in masses, look like banks of snow; they move along the air like ships sailing before the wind; and so of the simile universally, the hypocatastasis, and the allegory. This distinction between figures is so absolute, that the same word may be used both in a metaphor, which is of the first class, and in a simile, which is of the other; as in the expressions—the ship flew over the water; the ship moved along the water, as though it had wings and flew. In the first, the figure is in the use of the verb; in the other, in the use of the act expressed by it.
Figures thus consist of two great classes—those that lie
in an artificial use of words for the purpose of a more convenient or emphatic expression, and those that lie in an artificial use of things for that purpose, or for illustration and ornament. To the former belong the metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, hyperbole, personification, and the apostrophe; to the latter the comparison, the hypocatastasis, and the allegory.
Verbal figures consist in the application of words to things, of which they are not the natural or ordinary names ; as when the motion of the clouds is called flying, and the rebounding of rain from the surface on which it falls, dancing. In the other class, in which things are employed, the words are used in their ordinary manner, and the objects which they denote are employed for illustration and embellishment; as when the flying of a hawk round in a circle without moving its wings, is said to be like the motion of a ship borne round in the wide sweep of a rapid whirlpool, without changing its canvas.
An expression or passage is figurative that contains a figure of either of these classes. A phrase or sentence cannot be figurative without a figure. To prove that an expression or sentence is figurative, it must be shown that there is a figure in it, and the class determined to which it belongs.
There are nine kinds of figures--the Comparison, the Metaphor, the Metonymy, the Synecdoche, the Hyperbole, the Hypocatastasis, the Apostrophe, the Prosopopeia or Personification, and the Allegory or Parable.
A Comparison is an affirmation of the likeness of one thing to another; as when it is said of man-His days are as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourisheth, for the wind passeth over it and it
A Metaphor is an affirmation, or representation by words, that an agent, object, quality, or act, is that which it merely resembles; as when God is said to be a high tower or fortress to them that trust in him for protection, to indicate the safety in which he preserves them.
A Metonymy is a change of name by the denomination of a thing by a noun that is not its proper nor its metaphorical denominative, but is the proper name of something with which, as a scene or place, it is intimately connected; as when a person is said to have a long head, to signify that he has a farseeing and comprehensive mind.
The Synecdoche is the use of a term that properly denotes only a part of a thing, or one of a kind, in place of one that denotes the whole, or of one that denotes the whole instead of one that signifies only a part; as a species for a genus, such as a day for time, man for mankind.
The Hyperbole is an exhibition of things as greater or less in dimensions, more or less in number, or better or worse in kind, than they truly are; as when it is said of a large man, he is a giant; or of a splendid mansion, it is a palace.
The Hypocatastasis is a substitution, without a formal notice, of an act of one kind, with its object