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like nature (see the division The Figurative Language of Conversation, post.;) as an incongruity of metaphorical expression.

Sixthly. Metaphors should not be too much spun out or protracted ; for when the resemblance, which is the foundation of the figure, is too long dwelt on, and carried into all its minute circumstances, an allegory is produced, and the discourse becomes tiresome.

Of this nature are the following passages from Young and Hervey. The former, speaking of old age,

says, it should

Walk thoughtful on the silent shore

Of that vast ocean it must sail so soon,
And put good works on board, and wait the wind
That shortly blows us into worlds unknown.”


seem to

Of which sentence the first two lines are extremely beautiful; but the continuation of the metaphor, by“ putting good works on board,” and “waiting the wind," renders it strained, and lowers its dignity. “ The religious," says Hervey, “ lie in the bosom of the earth, as a wary pilot in some well“ sheltered bark. Here they enjoy safe anchorage, are in no “ danger of foundering among the seas of prevailing iniquity, " or being shipwrecked on the rocks of temptation. But ere “ long we shall behold them shifting their flag of hope,” &c. The student of composition should recollect that metaphors of this kind are not only puerile, but also disgusting.

And seventhly. Metaphors should not be too exuberant ; for the description of objects when too long tortured in a trope or figure becomes feeble and indistinct. Thus, Lord Shaftesbury's metaphorical application of the terms employed to express the state of inanimate nature for the purpose of describing the condition of the human mind is highly improper :


“ Men must acquire a very peculiar and strong habit of turning “ their eye inwards, in order to explore the interior regions and

recesses of the mind, the hollow caverns of deep thought, the “ private seats of fancy, and the wastes and wildernesses, as « well as the more fruitful and cultivated tracts of this obscure c climate.”

Allusion is a figure nearly connected with the metaphor. The following beautiful passage of Scripture, “ Every good gift, " and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from “ the father of light, with whom there is no variableness, or “ shadow of turning," while it contains a great moral truth, is a good example of its use and application.


The allegory is a continued metaphor, which describes a subject in figurative words, by assigning to it the analogous properties of another subject. Thus Horace, in the fourteenth ode of the first book of his Odes, addresses the commonwealth under the semblance of a ship; the civil wars, which had lately subsided, by a storm at sea; and the return of tranquillity by a safe harbour : “ O navis referunt in mare te novi fluctus," &c. O ship, shall swelling waves bear thee back again to sea ? What are you doing? boldly enter the port, &c. Sometimes whole poems are allegorical; as Spencer's Fairy Queen, Swift's Tale of a Tub, Gulliver's Travels, Butler's Hudibras, and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; the figures, personages, and scenes represented in those admirable productions being entirely imaginary, though the moral and the satire contained in them apply to real life and historical facts. To be correct, allegories should be properly sustained, and a consistency preserved between all the parts. Milton's allegory of Sin and Death is therefore defective.

In Akenside's allegory, that cultivation is necessary to elicit the

powers of the human mind, and render them beneficial to society, no adventitious circumstances occur to distort its unity, or impair its beauty.

In vain
Without fair Culture's kind parental aid,
Without enliv'ning suns and genial show’rs,
And shelter from the blast,-in vain we hope
The tender plant should raise its blooming head,
Or yield the harvest promis'd in its spring.
Nor yet will every soil with equal stores
Repay the tiller's labour, or attend
His will obsequious, whether to produce

The olive or the laurel.” In Prior's Henry and Emma, Emma's constancy to Henry is beautifully described, and the figure admirably sustained, in the following allegorical language :

“ Did I but purpose to embark with thee

On the smooth surface of a summer's sea,
While gentle zephyrs play in prosperous gales,
And fortune's favour fills the swelling sails ;
But would forsake the ship and make the shore,

When the winds whistle, and the tempests roar.” Many beautiful allegories occur in the Sacred Writings. The allegory of the vineyard (“ Now will I sing to my beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard," and ending “and now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard ") is full of pathos and imagination. There cannot be a finer or more correct allegory than that in the 80th Psalm, in which under the symbol of a vine, the election, calamities, and advancement of the Jewish nation are graphically represented. In Nathan's parable of a ewe-lamb, an allegory of equal beauty occurs. The address of Menenius Agrippa to his fellow-citizens of Rome, as recorded by Livy, in which he describes a rebellion of the industrious against the wealthier orders of a state under the figure of a conspiracy of all the other members of the human body against the stomach, is a well-sustained specimen of this figure. Addison's vision of Mirza has scarcely an equal in the English language. Few poets have employed this figure in a more powerful and truly poetical manner than Dante in his Divine Comedy.


The metonymy is the substitution of one word for another, which has some apparent relation or dependence on it, either in a natural or a moral point of view. Thus, by a metonymy of resemblance, we say “ the morning of life" instead of youth; and “ the evening of life" instead of old age. By the same figure, the word “ Heaven” is made use of to signify the Deity, and the Almighty is described as “ the terror of the oppressor and the refuge of the oppressed.” From the poverty and imperfection of language, it is by this figure that human passions and affections are attributed to the Divine Creative Spirit; that parts of the human body are ascribed to him; and that all his acts and power are described in the same language as those of our weak and limited nature.

This figure, which contributes greatly to promote vivacity of style, is produced either by putting the cause for the effect, and

the converse; or by substituting the attribute for the subject, and the converse; or the antecedent for the consequent, and the converse.

1st. The cause for the effect.

By a metonymy of relation between cause and effect, we say " the light shines," instead of “ the sun shines ;" “ he was overtaken by night," instead of “ by darkness ;" “ he loves his bottle,” instead of " he is a drunkard ;” and the expressions, “it is to be found in Horace, Cicero,” &c.; “ they read the poets,” i.e. their works or writings, are metonymical. Mars is also used by a metonymy for war, Neptune for the sea, Pluto for hell, Bacchus for wine, Pallas for wisdom, Mercury for cunning, Venus for love, &c. Junius's interrogation, “ Can grey hairs “ make folly venerable?" and Ossian's “sigh of her secret soul,” are beautiful metonymies for old age and a beloved youth. It is by the same figure, that the expression “to make an example” signifies to punish, and that a name of a country is used to signify its inhabitants.

2dly. The effect for the cause. Thus, victory is said to be insolent; death, pale; youth, gay; passion, blind; anger, hasty; curiosity, impertinent, &c.; and it is by this figure that the sons of the prophet, while eating the pottage which Elisha had ordered to be set before them, made use of the word death for some deadly thing, in the exclamation, “ there is death in the pot.”

3dly. The subject for the attribute or adjunct. Thus, the words youth and beauty are used to signify the young and beautiful; as is the expression “a flourishing city,” to denote its inhabitants. So the expressions “ the church forbids it," “ the general conquered,”—“ the cause went against the advocate,”—“ “ the firm or house stopped

-“ the city or the university went up with the address,” are metonymical. It


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