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view to make us understand that object more clearly, or to render it more pleasing. Even abstract reasoning admits explaining comparisons. For instance, the distinction between the powers of sense and imagination is in Mr. Harris's Hermes illustrated by a simile; “ As wax,” says he, 66 would pot be adequate to the purpose of signature, if it had not the power to retain as well as to receive the impression; the same holds of the soul with respect to sense and imagination. Sepse is its receptive power, and imagination its retentive. Had it sense without imagination, it would not be as wax, but as water; where though all impressions be instantly made, yet as soon as they are made, they are lost.” In comparisons of this kind, perspicuity and usefulness are chiefly to be studied.

But embellishing comparisons, are those, which most frequently occur. Resemblance, it has been observed, is the foundation of this figure. Yet resemblance must not be taken in too strict a sense for actual similitude. Two objects may raise a train of concordant ideas in the mind, though they resemble each other, strictly speaking, in nothing. For example, to describe the nature of soft and melancholy music, Ossian says, 5. The music of Carryl was, like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.” This is happy and delicate ; yet no kiod of music bears any resemblance to the memory of past joys.

We shall now consider, when comparisons my be introduced with propriety. Since they are the language of imagination, rather; than of passjon, an author can hardly commit a greater fault,

than in the midst of passion to introduce a simile. Our writers of tragedies often err in this respect. Thus Addison in bis Cato makes Portius, just after Lucia had bid him farewell forever, express himself in a studied comparison.

Thus o'er the dying lamp the unsteady flame
Hangs quivering on a point, leaps off by fits,
And falls again, as loath to quit its hold.
Thou must not go; my soul still hovers o'er thee,
And can't get loose.

As comparison is not the style of strong passion, so when designed for embellishment, it is not the language of a mind totally unmoved. Being a figure of dignity, it always requires some elevation in the subject, to make it proper. It supposes the imagination to be enlivened, though the heart is not agitated by passion. The language of simile lies in the middle region between the highly pathetic and the very humble style. It is however a sparkling ornament; and must consequently dazzle and fatigue, if it recur too often. Similes even in poetry, should be employed with moderation; but in prose much more so; otherwise the style will become disgustingly luscious, and the ornament lose its beauty and effect.

We shall now consider the nature of those objects from which comparisons should be drawn.

In the first place, they must not be drawn from things, which have too near and obvious a resemblance of the object, with which they are compared. The pleasure we receive from the act of comparing, arises from the discovery of likenesses among things of different species, where we should not at first sight expect a resemblance.

But, in the second place, as comparisons ought

not to be founded on likenesses too obvious; much less ought they to be founded on those, which are too faint and distant. These, instead of assisting, strain the fancy to comprehend them, and throw no light upon the subject.

In the third place, the object, from which a comparison is drawn, ought never to be an unknown object, nor one of which few people can have a clear idea. Therefore similes, founded on philosophical discoveries, or on any thing, with which persons of a particular trade only, or a particular profession, are acquainted, produce not their proper effect. They should be drawn from those illustrious and noted objects, which most readers have either seen, or can strongly conceive.

In the fourth place, in compositions of a serious or elevated kind, similes should never be drawn from low or mean objects. These degrade and vilify; wbereas similes are generally intended to embellish and dignify. Therefore, except in butlesque writings, or where an object is meant to be degraded, mean ideas should never be presented.

Antithesis is founded on the contrast or opposition of two objects. By contrast, objects, opposed to each other, appear in a stronger light. Beauty, for instance never appears so charming as when contrasted with ugliness. Antithesis therefore may, on many occasions, be used advantageously, to strengthen the impression which we propose that any object should make. Thus Cicero, in his oration for Milo, representing the improbability of Milo's designing to take away the life of Clodius, when every thing was unfavourable to such design, after he had omitted many opportunities of effecting such a purpose,

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heightens our conviction of this improbability by a skilful use of this figure. Quem igitur cum omnium gratia interficere noluit ; hunc voluit cum aliquoruin querela? Quem jure, quem loco, quem tempore, quern impune, non est ausus ; hunc injuria, iniquo loco, alieno tempore, periculo capitis, non dubitavit occidere ?" Here the antithesis is rendered complete by the words and members of the sentence, expressing the contrasted objects, being similarly constructed, and made to correspond with each other.

We must however, acknowledge that frequent use of antithesis, especially where the opposition in the words is nice and quaint, is apt to make style uppleasing. A maxim or moral saying very properly receives this form; because it is supposed to be the effect of meditation, and is designed to be engraven on the memory, which recals it more easily by the aid of contrasted expressions. But, where several such sentences succeed each other; where this is an author's favourite and prevailing mode of expression; his style is exposed to censure.

Interrogations and exclamations are passionate figures. The literal use of interrogation is to ask a question; but, when men are prompted by passion, whatever they would affirm, or deny with great earnestness, they naturally put in the form of a question; expressing thereby the firmest confidence of the truth of their own opinion ; and appealing to their hearers for the impossibility of the contrary. Thus in scripture ; “God is not a man, that he should :ie; nor 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 ?”

Interrogations may be employed in the proses cution of close and earnest reasonings; but exclamations belong only to stronger emotions of the miod; to surprise, anger, joy, grief and the like. These, being natural signs of a moved and agitated mind, always, when properly employed, make us sympathize with those who use them, and enter into their feelings. Nothing, however, has a worse effect, than frequent and unseasonable use of exclamations. Young, inexperienced writers suppose, that by pouring them forth plenteously they render their compositions warm and animated. But the contrary follows; they render them frigid to excess. When an author is always calling upon us to enter into transports, which he has said nothing to inspire, he excites our disgust and indignation.

Another figure of speech, fit only for animated composition, is called Vision; when, instead of relating something, that is past, we use the present tense, and describe it, as if passing before our eyes. Thus Cicero, in his fourth oration against Cataline: “ Videor enim mihi hanc urbem videre, lucern orbis terrarum atque arcem omnium gentium, subito uno incendio concidentur ; cerno animo sepulta in patria miseros atque in sepultos acervos civium ; versatur mihi ante oculos aspectus Cethegi, et furor, in vestra cæde bacchantis." This figure has great force when it is well executed, and when it flows from genuine enthusiasm. Otherwise, it shares the same fate with all feeble attempts' towards passionate figures; that of throwing ridicule upon the author, and leaving the reader more cool and uninterested than he was before.

The last figure which we shall meation, and

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