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Hyperbole, or Exaggeration, is that figure by which an object is magnified or diminished beyond its natural bounds; as, ‘I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered;’ ‘He possessed a field of smaller extent than a Lacedaemonian letter.”
The following rules ought to be observed in the use of hyperbole:–
I. A hyperbole should never be introduced in the description of any thing ordinary and familiar. II. A hyperbole cannot be introduced with propriety till the mind of the reader is duly prepared. III. A hyperbole should be comprehended in as few words as possible.
Represent the following subjects by hyperbole:—
His speech was so deeply interesting and impressive, that the very walls listened to his arguments, and were moved by his eloquence. EXERCISES.
. The brightness of a lighted room. . The splendour of a dress ornamented with jewels. . The number of persons in a crowd. . The quantity of rain which falls in a shower. . The thirst of an individual by the quantity of liquid he conSumes.
6. The size of a country by the rising and setting of the sun.
7. The affliction caused by the death of a distinguished indi. vidual.
Antithesis, or Contrast, is a figure of arrangement, by which two objects or sentiments are represented in opposition; as, “If you regulate your desires according to the standard of nature, you will never be poor; if according to the standard of opinion, you will never be rich.”
The principal rule to be observed in the use of antithesis, is, that it should be introduced sparingly, and only when the points of contrast are obvious and natural.
Represent the following subjects in antithesis:–
A wise man endeavours to shine in himself: a fool to outshine others. The former is humbled by the sense of his own infirmities; the latter is lifted up by the discovery of those which he observes in others. The wise man considers what he wants; and the fool what he abounds in. The wise man is happy when he gains his own approbation; and the fool when he recommends himself to the applause of those about him.
1. Pride and humility.
Climax is a figure of arrangement, by which every succeeding object or circumstance is made to rise above
the anchor of repentance in the port of sincerity and justice, which is the port of safety; lest the tempest of our vengeance make thee perish in the sea of the punishment thou deservest.”
Write a critical examination of the following passages, commenting particularly on the figures of speech and thought:— EXAMPLE.
l. “Things light or lovely in their acted time,
In this passage the poet describes figuratively the agitation of the mind, when suffering the pangs of remorse. He represents its feelings under the metaphor of a wasting disease, which withers and corrodes the frame, till it extinguishes life, and reduces its victim to a putrid corpse, from which the spectator starts back with horror. In like manner, the agonizing reflections of a guilty conscience distract the soul to such a degree, that the wicked man is forced to disclose the evil deeds which he has committed; whereby he is rendered a much more disgusting object, than a dead body that must be consigned to the sepulchre. 2. “Sir, he may live; I saw him beat the surges under him, And ride upon their backs; he trode the water, Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted The surge most swoll'n that met him.” In this description, a most incredible hyperbole is introduced. How is it possible for a person to ride upon the back of a wave, or tread water under his feet P What kind of enmity can surges have, and how can a person fling it from him The incongruity of this figure shows that hyperboles should never be used, unless they are suitable to the subject which they are intended to illustrate,