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THE PARALEPSIS, OR PRETERMISSION.
By the paralepsis or pretermission the speaker affects to wave or conceal what he plainly insinuates and insists on. Thus, “ I shall say nothing of the defendant in his private or “ individual capacity. I shall not break into the privacy of “ his domestic life. I shall pass over the circumstances of “ his domestic habits and conduct. I shall not whisper in
your ears a word about his integrity or his honour.”
The orations of Cicero abound with the most beautiful specimens of this rhetorical ornament of speech. See particularly his defence of Sextus and his oration against Rullus.
EPANORTHOSIS, OR CORRECTION.
The epanorthosis or correction is a figure by which the speaker retracts or recalls what he has said, for the purpose of substituting something stronger or more suitable in its place. Thus, Cicero in his defence of Plancius: “ For what greater “ blow could those judgesmif they are to be called judges, “ and not rather parricides of their country-have given to the “ state, than when they banished that very man, who, when
prætor, delivered the republic from a neighbouring war, and “ who, when consul, saved it from a civil war ?" The oration for Milo, and the Third Philippic, contain equally beautiful specimens.
SYNCHORESIS, OR CONCESSION.
Synchoresis or concession is a figure by which the speaker grants or yields up something, for the purpose of gaining a point, without the admission of which he could not secure that point. In the whole arsenal of oratory there is not a more powerful engine than this figure; it is equalled only by that of interrogation: it confounds and invalidates the whole argument of an adversary. Thus, “ I allow that nobody was more nearly “ related to the deceased than you; I grant that he was under
some obligation to you; nay, that you have always been in “ friendly correspondence with each other; but what is all this 6 to the last will and testament?”
Cicero's example of this figure in his speech for Flaccus, in which, for the purpose of invalidating the testimony of the Greeks, who were witnesses against his clients, he allows them every quality but that which was necessary to make them credited, possesses admirable force and effect.
“ This, however, I say concerning all the Greeks: I grant them learning, the knowledge of many sciences; I do not deny that they have wit, fine genius, and eloquence; nay, if they lay claim to many other excellences, I shall not contest their title; but this I must say, that nation never paid a proper regard to the religious sanctity of public evidence, and are total strangers to the obligation, authority, and importance of truth.”
PROLEPSIS, OR ANTICIPATION.
Prolepsis or anticipation is a figure by which the speaker anticipates an objection to what he advances, and returns an answer to it. An excellent example of this figure occurs in Cicero's oration for Archias.
How many examples have the Greek and Latin writers left us, not only to contemplate but to imitate! Those illustrious models I have always set before me in the government of the state, and have formed my conduct by contemplating their virtues. But it will be asked, were those great men who are celebrated in history distinguished for that kind of learning which you so highly extol ? It would be difficult, I grant, to prove this of them all; but what I shall answer is, nevertheless, certain. I may own, then, that there have been many men of excellent dispositions and distinguished virtues, who, without learning, and by the almost divine force of Nature herself, have attained to great wisdom and worth; nay, farther, I will allow that nature without learning is of greater efficacy towards the attainment of glory and virtue than learning without nature; but then I affirm, that when to an excellent natural disposition are added the embellishments of learning, there always results from this union something astonishingly great and extraordinary."
ANAPHORA, OR REPETITION.
Anaphora or repetition is a figure which gracefully and emphatically repeats either the same words, or the same sense in different words. Thus Cicero in his second oration against Antony gives a beautiful specimen.
“ As trees and plants necessarily arise from seeds, so are you, Antony, the seed of this most calamitous war. You mourn, 0 Romans, that three of your armies have been slaughtered by Antony! you lament the loss of your most illustrious citizens! They were torn from you by Antony: the authority of this order is deeply wounded by Antony; in short, all the calamities that we have ever beheld (and what calamities have we not beheld ?), if we reason rightly, have been entirely owing to Antony. As Helen was of Troy, so the bane, the misery, the destruction of this state, is Antony."
The design of the aposiopesis is when, from emotion or violent affection, the speaker breaks off his speech before the sense is completed, in order to aggravate the purpose of his address. Thus, “Let me close the scene-Humanity cannot “ sustain it.” Thus also the gentleman in Terence, extremely incensed against his enemy, accosts him with only this abrupt saying, “ Thou of all;" that is, of all scoundrels the greatest. Thus, also, the compassionate Saviour of the world seems to have been so full of grief when he uttered the exclamation, “ If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy “ day, the things that belong unto thy peace,” that he could not give utterance to that inevitable and intolerable misery which was coming on the rebellious city of Jerusalem; and therefore, having made a silent pause and let his tears speak what his tongue could not utter, he left the sentence imperfect, and then most awfully added, “ but now they are hidden from
thy eyes.” Adam's declaration to Eve is a beautiful exemplification of this figure, declarative of the loftiest aspirations to display the utmost courage and daring in the presence of loveliness and innocence. 6 While shame-thou looking on," &c.
The sermocination is a figure by which a speaker tauntingly and derisively addresses his hearers at the expense of his adversary. Thus, “ I do not mean to enter into an examination “ of the partial sinister motives of my adversary's conduct; “ but confining myself strictly to the fact, I affirm that he has “ done that which by law he was not warranted to do.” Thus, also, “ I have pursued this argument of the plaintiff's counsel “ at a greater expense of time and words than it has a right to " claim, in order, gentlemen of the jury, to shew its frailty in
every principle and particle of it.”
Before closing this division of the subject, a few words may not be irrelevant respecting the rhetorical figure alliteration ; a form of speech by which the iteration of an initial letter or syllable occurs in a sentence. Thus, “ with loads of learned lumber in his head ;"_“ Love, and love only, is the loan of love;"_“ No fairy field of fiction all in flower.”
Burns' “ seest thou thy lover lowly laid," -Akenside's “ ghostly gloom of groves,”—Gray’s “ nor cast one longing, lingering look behind,” Thomson's “ broad, brown, below extensive harvests hang their heavy head,”—Milton's “Behemoth biggest born of earth,” “ their bare broad backs upheave,” -“ faithful found among the faithless faithful only he,"—and " the foolishness of fools is folly,"_" the treacherous dealer hath dealt treacherously,”—“ all her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are paths of peace,” of Scripture composition, are splendid specimens of this figure. Bacon, in his Rhetoric, has some excellent specimens of alliteration.
But beautiful as alliterative metre is when tastefully and judiciously employed, it is necessary not to be profuse in its use, as by its quaint and studied adoption language may