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as that most lovely of woman's attributes (to adopt the beautiful observation of Goldsmith, Essays, vol. 2, essay 17) obtains only in the circumstances of cold and purity; and the addition of its being curdled from the purest snow, and hanging on the temple of Diana, the patroness of virginity, heightens the whole into a most beautiful simile.
The Scriptures abound with splendid specimens of this figure, full of the most beautiful imagery and the most affecting pathos. Among innumerable other instances that might readily be specified, the following is unrivalled in the whole range of rhetorical composition for its truthful application and happy simplicity of diction :-“ Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and “ full of trouble. He cometh forth as a flower, and is cut “ down. He fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”
The two following examples of this figure from Young's Revenge and Blair's Grave are as highly instructive as they are rhetorically correct. By the first, the inexperienced and confiding maiden is taught the necessity of prudence and caution in the selection of the object on whom she may place her affections; and by the second, the impolicy of neglecting or refusing to fulfil the ordinations of Nature and of Heaven, from false or mistaken notions, is finely exemplified.
The long demurring maid
To be perfect and effective, a simile should not be encum
bered with any extraneous circumstances. Therefore when Milton, in his comparison of the shield of Satan to the orb of the moon, introduces the discovery of the telescope, and all the wonders resulting from that discovery, the adventitious images thus introduced extend the simile beyond the bounds or dimensions which the occasion required.
Similes should also bear a strict resemblance or analogy to the nature and properties of the object from which the comparison is drawn.
In perceiving analogies in things which appear to have nothing in common, Bacon, Cowley, and the author of Hudibras eminently excel. Bacon had never an equal in this branch of rhetorical composition.
THE ANTITHESIS, OR CONTRAST.
Antithesis or contrast is a figure by which objects and sentiments having a direct and opposite meaning are compared and contrasted, for the purpose of giving a clearer impression to our meaning, as that of Cicero in his second Catalinarian: (Ex hac parte pudor pugnat, illinc petulantia, &c.) « On one side “ stands modesty, on the other impudence; on one fidelity,
on the other deceit; here piety, there sacrilege; here con“ tinency, there lust,” &c.
The antithesis employed by Cicero in his oration for Milo, by which he represents the improbability of Milo's forming a design to take away the life of Clodius at a time when all circumstances were unfavourable to such a design, and after he had let other opportunities slip when he could have executed that design, if he had forined it, with much more ease and
safety, is admirably adapted to produce an improbability of the act. (Quem igitur omnium gratiâ interficere voluit, hunc voluit cum aliquorum querelâ ? Quem jure, quem loco, quem tempore, quem impune, non est ausus, hunc injuria, iniquo loco, alieno tempore, periculo capitis, non dubitavit occidere ?) “ Is “ it credible, that when he declined putting Clodius to death “ with the consent of all, he would choose to do it with the dis“ approbation of any? Can you believe that the person whom “ he scrupled to slay when he might have done so with full “ justice, in a convenient place, at a proper time, with secure
impunity, he made no scruple to murder against justice, in an “ unfavourable place, at an unseasonable time, and at the risk “ of capital condemnation ?”
A fine example of this figure occurs in Mr. Sheil's speech at Penenden Heath, in allusion to the discrepancy of the practice and the professions of the higher clergy.
“ Instead of being the pious, active, and indefatigable instructors of the peasantry, instead of being their consolers in affliction, their resource in calamity, their preceptors and their models in religion, the trustees of their interests, their visitors in sickness, and their companions on their beds of death, they prefer to be a vain, supercilious, reckless, heartless troop of abandoned profligates, equally insolent to the humble and sycophantic to the great--fatterers at the noble's table, and grinders in the poor man's hovel-rapacious in extortion-slaves in politics, and tyrants in demeanour-who, from the porticos of palaces, give their injunctions—who from the banquets of politicians prescribe their lessons in abstinence—who from mitred chariots pronounce declamations against the pride and pomp of the world, and from the primrose path of dalliance point to the steep and thorny way to Heaven.”
Burke, speaking of the benevolent Howard, gives a fine exemplification of antithetical composition.
“ He visited all Europe, not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces or the stateliness of temples; not to form a scale of the curiosity of modern art; not to collect medals or to collate manuscripts; but to dive into depths of dungeons; to plunge into the infection of hospitals; to survey the mansions of sorrow and pain; to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt; to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and to compare and collate the distresses of all men in all countries.”
Pope, in the Prologue to his Satires, gives an admirable example of this figure in the lines beginning
“ Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike;”
and his use of it in contrasting the merits of Homer and Virgil is no less beautiful.
Sterne's specimen of this figure in his Sermon on the House of Mourning and the House of Feasting possesses uncommon force and beauty when describing the House of Feasting.
The Bible abounds with admirable specimens of this figure : “ The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the portion “ of fools.” “A soft answer turneth away wrath ; but grievous “ words stir up anger.” Among numerous other passages, the 19th verse of the 22nd chapter of the Book of Numbers, and the 9th verse of the 94th Psalm, furnish beautiful specimens of the antithetic form of expression : a form of expression that not only adds greatly to the energy, brevity, and vigour of composition, but often imparts a spirit and liveliness to discourse, whether written or oral, which could not be otherwise obtained. Under this figure may be comprehended those of parallelism and correlation. Of these figures, the following are good examples :-“ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,
se the dead,
“ cast out devils, freely ye have received, freely give.” “ That “ it may please thee to succour, help, and comfort all those " that are in danger, necessity, and tribulation.”
THE PROSOPOPEIA, OR PERSONIFICATION.
The personification, or, according to Greek etymology, the prosopopæia, (a figure which greatly contributes to the animation and beauty of composition by giving distinctness to the conceptions of the mind,) personifies inanimate or irrational objects and abstract qualities, endowing them with life, speech, feeling, and activity. Thus, the Psalmist personifies the sea. “ The sea saw thee and fled,” &c. “ What aileth thee, O thou
sea, that thou fleddest ?” &c.
The moving and tender address which Eve makes to Paradise just before she is compelled to leave it, affords a very beautiful example of this figure, exhibiting the real language of nature and of female passion :
“ Oh! unexpected stroke, worse than death :
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
No personification in any author is more forcibly and