Page images


1. A virtuous man slandered by evil tongues. 2. Mournful yet pleasant music. 3. An elevated genius employed in little things. 4. Hope and fear alternately swaying the mind. 5. He who has no opinion of his own, and the man of decision. 6. A mind formerly settled in its principles, disturbed by doubt. 7. The death of the virtuous man.


Allegory is a figure founded on resemblance, one subject being represented by another analogous to it; as in the following passage from the 80th Psalm, in which the people of Israel are represented under the image of a vine:—

* Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathem, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all which pass by the way do pluck her ? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.”

The principal rule to be observed in conducting an allegory, is, that the figurative and literal meaning be

not inconsistently mingled.
Represent the following subjects by allegories:—


Luxury and Avarice.

There were two very powerful tyrants engaged in perpetual war against each other, one of whom was named Luxury, and the other Avarice. The aim of each was nothing less than universal monarchy over the hearts of mankind. Luxury was entirely guided by the advice of Plenty; Avarice conducted himself by the counsels of Poverty. While these two great rivals were contending for empire, their conquests were very various. Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of Luxury. The wife and husband would frequently declare themselves on opposite sides; nay, the very same person would sometimes join with the one in his youth, and revolt to the other in his old age. The wise men of the world, indeed, took part with neither; but, alas ! their numbers were not considerable. At length, when the two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they held a private interview, at which they agreed upon this preliminary to an accommodation, that each of them should immediately dismiss his privy counsellor. When things were thus far adjusted towards a peace, all other differences were easily settled; insomuch, that for the future they resolved to live as good friends and confederates. For this reason, we now find Luxury and Avarice generally taking possession of the same heart. EXERCISES.

l. Truth and Falsehood.

2. Diligence and Idleness.

3. Prudence saves from many a misfortune; Pride causes many.

4. Modesty and Assurance.

5. Emulation and Envy.

6. Wirtue is to be attained only by labour, difficulty, and wise

counsel. 7. Human life a voyage.



Personification, or Prosopopoeia, is that figure by which life and action are attributed to inanimate objects; as, “What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest?’

There are three degrees in personification, namely,–

I. When some of the properties or qualities of living

[ocr errors][merged small]

creatures are ascribed to inanimate objects; as, ‘The thirsty ground;’ ‘The angry ocean.” II. When inanimate objects are represented as acting like living creatures; as, ‘The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.” III. When inanimate objects are represented either as speaking to us, or as listening when we address them; as,

“Ask we for flocks these shingles dry,
And well the mountain might reply,
“To you, as to your sires of yore,
Belong the target and claymore.’’

‘Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here P’

The principal rule to be observed in the use of this figure, is, that we should not deck the objects personified with fantastic and trifling circumstances. I. Personify the following subjects in the first degree:— EXAMPLES. Waves; rain. The hungry waves; the joyous rain.


1. A brook; a waterfall; the wind; a tempest; time; fortune; adversity. .

2. The earth; the woods; the mountains ; the sun ; the moon; the stars ; science ; art; industry.

3. Spring; summer; autumn; winter; heat; fire; an earthquake; cold ; snow; hail; frost; ice.

4. Idleness; mirth ; folly ; intemperance ; pleasure ; pain ; disease; death; the grave; charity; hope; faith; joy.

II. Personify the following subjects in the second degree:—


He drew his sword.
The sword leapt from its scabbard.


1. He is asleep.

2. The fire has been extinguished.

3. The shadows caused by might pass away.

4. The air is so soft that we are induced to take a walk.

5. The sun cannot be seen through the clouds.

6. He who is pleased with natural scenery, can find instruction and entertainment in every object which he sees.

III. Personify the following subjects in the third degree:—


Contentment thou parent of felicity thou faithful companion of hope 1 if thou shouldst take up thine abode in my bosom, in vain may fortune wreck me on inhospitable shores.

1. Hope. 4. Pity.
2. Peace. - 5. Sleep.
3. Light. 6. Eternity.



Apostrophe is that figure by which we turn from the subject, and address the absent or dead, as if they were present or alive, and were listening to us; as in the following passage:–

“And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom my son, my son Absalom I would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son 1’

The principal rule to be observed in the use of apostrophe, is, that it should not be loaded with studied ornament, nor extended too far.

Introduce apostrophe into the following passages:—


I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be his gibes now 2 his gambols? his songs? his flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table in a roar 2

I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now 2 your gambols 2 your songs 2 your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table in a roar 2


1. I cannot but imagine the virtuous heroes, legislators, and patriots of every age and country, are bending from their elevated seats to witness this contest, as if they were incapable, till it be brought to a favourable issue, of enjoying their eternal repose. Let these illustrious immortals enjoy that repose ! Their mantle fell when they ascended; and thousands, inflamed with their spirit, and impatient to tread in their steps, are ready to swear by Him that sitteth upon the throne and liveth for ever and ever, that they will protect Freedom in her last asylum, and never desert that cause, which they sustained by their labours, and cemented with their blood.

2. Strike the harp in praise of Bragela, whom I left in the isle of mist, the spouse of my love. Doth she raise her fair face from the rock to find the sails of Cuthullin P The sea is rolling far distant, and its white foam will deceive her for my sails. My love will retire, for it is night, and the dark wind sighs in her hair. She will retire to the hall of my feasts, and think of the times that are past; for I will not return till the storm of war is gone.

3. Thus passes the world away. Throughout all ranks and conditions, “one generation passeth, and another generation cometh;’ and this great inn is by turns evacuated and replenished by troops of succeeding pilgrims. The world is vain and inconstant. Life is fleeting and transient. When will the sons of men learn to think of it as they ought? When will they learn humanity from the afflictions of their brethren ; or moderation and wisdom, from the sense of their own fugitive state 2

« PreviousContinue »