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is by this figure that coined money is termed gold and silver, as is also Shakspeare's expression, “ who steals my purse, steals trash.” The terms, “ lend a hand,” i.e. aid or assistance; “ I can swear to the hand,” i. e. to the signature or hand
. writing; are also metonymies; as are the expressions, “ he has a good heart,” and “hearts of oak are our men,” for courage, firmness, and steadiness. And the current phrases, 6 drink this cup,” or “ this glass," i. e. the tea or the wine; “ the kettle boils;" i.e. the water; "he takes his bottle,” i.e. wine; and “he is now with me,” i. e. at my house, are referable to this figure.
4thly. The attribute or adjunct for the subject. As the expressions, “ the insolence of the age,” i. e. of the men of the age ; on this side modesty is engaged, on that impudence," i. e. modest men, &c.; and the Scripture denunciation, “ unto you, scribes and pharisees, for ye devour the families of “ widows,” i. e. their means of subsistence, are metonymies. “ He has no brains,”—“ he is an excellent whip,”—“ to die sword in hand,” are metonymical expressions, for he is a fool, he is a skilful driver, to die fighting. It is also by the same figure that we say of a literary composition, that it is “ the production of an eminent pen;"—that the word “mitre” is used for priesthood ;—"sword" for the military profession or military violence; -“ the gown” for theology, law, or physic;“ chair" for the professor;—“ the purple” for the imperial authority ;—“ the throne” or “crown" for the kingly office ;“the papal chair,” for the papal authority;—that groves are said to be vocal,-a state, tottering ;-the ocean, imperious,-a flood, angry,
,-a tempest, raging,—that the expression white-livered is understood as the symbol of cowardice,—that horses are termed bays, greys, chesnuts, &c. ;—and that the patronymic names of Burgundy, Champagne, Madeira, Port, Sherry, and
Hollands, are applied to the wines that are the products of those countries. It is also by this figure that the expression “ the turf” or “ the course" is used for the race-ground, “ heat” for a match,—“ heaven” for bliss,—“ the glow-worm's lamp” for light; that the cant expressions “ boots” and “ cockneys” signify one who cleans boots, and Londoners,--and that a lovely woman is said to be “ a toast."
“ The skirts of a wood,"_" the brow of a hill,”—“ the arm of a tree,” or “ of the —“the wing of an army,”—“ the hand of time,"_" the frog of a horse's foot,”—“ a finger-post,”—“ an elbow-chair," are metonymical expressions; as are also Milton's epithets,
religious light,” “ wearied wing,” “ adventurous song ;' Shakspeare's “ coward swords," “ fearful hollows;" and Gray's
moping melancholy," pining atrophy,” and “ moonstruck madness.” By this figure also the inventor is made to denote the invention; and the converse. Thus blankets have received their name from Blanket, the name of their inventor; and the word “phaeton" has been derived from Phaeton, memorable, in ancient mythology, for his rashness and unhappy fate.
5thly. The antecedent for the consequent. As they lived” for they were dead; “ he once was” for he is no more.
6thly. The consequent for the antecedent. As “ he is buried ” for he is dead; “ he is hastening to the grave," that is, to death.
The synecdoche, which is nearly allied to the metonymy, is a figure or form of speech, by virtue of which anything more or less is, by a freedom of construction, substituted for the precise object meant; as when the whole is put for a part, or the converse; a genus for the species, or a species for a genus; the singular for the plural, or the plural for the singular number.
1st. The whole for a part. “ The world considers him a man of application and talent,” i. e. that part of mankind who have any knowledge of him. “ It is written in the prophets," that is, in the book of some one of the prophets.
2d. A part for the whole. As when the word “mortals," or “ souls,” is used instead of men; “ sail” instead of ships; and when the word “ head " is used for person, and “ waves for the sea. In the expressions, “ the keys of the fort were delivered up to the conqueror,” and “ the lord chancellor has resigned the seals,” the words keys and seals signify the fort and the office of chancellor. Milton's “ grim feature” is a synecdoche for death; and the expression in the Lord's Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is a synecdoche for the necessaries of life.
3d. An example when the singular number is taken for the plural by this trope is,“ man that is born of a woman," i. e. men that are born of women. When the plural for the singular, “ the thieves that were crucified with him upbraided him," i. e. one of the thieves, &c. Sometimes a collective word expresses by this figure multitudes with more clearness and vehemence than a plural expression would do; as “ the theatre burst into tears," i. e. the people in the theatre, &c.
The antonomasia, a figure nearly allied to metonymy, and indeed a branch of it, is a trope or forin of speech by which proper names are used for common, and the converse.
The proper name is used for the common when the name of
a person or nation is used to denote a man endowed with qualities or manners similar to those to which reference is made. Thus we say,
“ Solomon " for a wise man; “ Aristides" for a just man; “ Job” for a patient man; Hercules,” or “Sampson," for a strong man; “Judas," for a traitor; “ Demosthenes" or Cicero," for an orator;
“ Horace" or “ Virgil,” for a poet;
“ Cresus” for a rich man; “ Mecænas,” for a patron; “ Nero," for a cruel man; Heliogabalus," for a glutton; and “ Messalina or “ Aspasia” for a courtesan.
By the same figure, if a man is stout and warlike, he is said to be a Hector; if ancient, a Nestor ; if wise, a Solon; if just, an Aristides ; if witty, an Athenian; if heavy-pated, a Bæotian; if a carper, a Zoilus; if a cynic, a Diogenes; if a merry fellow, a Democritus; if handsome, an Adonis; if a self-admirer, a Narcissus; and by this figure, a married man is called a Benedick; an abstinent man, a Joseph; a lady's maid, an Abigail; and sheriffs' officers, myrmidons of the law.
The common name is used for the proper when the name of the art or science in which a person may have excelled is put for the person himself; as “ the Roman orator,” for Tully; “ the Roman poet,” for Virgil, &c. By this figure, also, the Deity is called “the Omnipotent,"
,” “ the Almighty,” &c.; Christ,“ the great teacher;" St. Paul, “ the Apostle ;” Aristotle, “the Stagirite,” or “ Peripatetic;" Anacreon, “ the Bard of Teos;" Tacitus, “ the prince of historians;” Shakspeare, “the poet of Nature ;” a king, “his majesty;" a prince,“ his highness ;" the pope, “his holiness ;" an ambassador, “his excellency;" persons ennobled, “ his grace,"
,” « his lordship,” &c.; parliamentary voters,“ potwalloppers" or "potwabblers," and a certain and an undoubted truth is said to be “ Gospel.” The historian of “ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"
abounds in this figure: “Rome is the country of the Cæsars ;" Constantinople," the Imperial City;" and Constantine,“ the protector of the Church.” In Swift's expression, “one of “ these authors (the fellow that was pilloried, I have forgot his “ name,) is so grave, sententious, dogmatical a rogue, that there “ is no enduring him," the words included within the parenthesis are an exquisite antonomasia for the name of the person whom he meant to ridicule.
The irony is a figure of speech in which the meaning of the thought is directly contrary to the import or literal signification of the words employed; as when we call a silly person a Solomon, -a rogue, an honest man,-an unchaste woman, a Penelope ; or say that a thing is well done, when it is badly done. It is by this figure that Cicero calls Verres, who was utterly detestable for extortion and rapacity," the upright and honest prætor of Sicily;" and represents Clodius, who had murdered an illustrious Roman (Orat. contra Cicilium), as “ worthy “ of being acquitted for the integrity of his life, the simplicity “ of his manners, and the virtues of his character.” In the rhapsody which Cervantes puts into the mouth of Don Quixote in anticipation of the immortal fame which would crown his exploits, while he ridicules with great effect the preposterous valour of knights errant in the person of his hero, he gives an admirable exemplification of ironical rhetoric.
Burke, in his famous “ Letter to a Noble Lord” respecting the attack made upon himself and his pension, exhibits an admirable specimen of this figure.