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of our death ; but even that will not last long. In the course of time the stone will be mutilated or broken, and the inscription be entirely destroyed.
It will readily be seen from these examples that analogy is the foundation of a large proportion of figurative language. Thus in the first example, " She had been the pupil of the village pastor, the favorite lamb of his little flock,” tlie analogy lies between a clergyman and a shepherd; a congregation and a flock of sheep, the little ones of the congregation and the young lambs of the flock.
It will be found a very useful exercise for the student to trace out the analogies thus presented by figurative language. The following extracts are selected, in which he may point out the subjects between which the analogy is directly or indirectly implied. Such an exercise will open his eyes to the beauties of poetry, and prepare him for the imitation of those beauties. Perhaps it will be better that this should be an oral exercise.
The meek-eyed morn appears, mother of dews,
Enter this wild wood,
Throngs of insects in the glade
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
That all was lost.
Thou 'rt purpling now, 0 Sun, the vines of Canaan,
The tempests of fortune.
My ear is pained,
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled The superb loļus was holding up his cup to the sun. as if for a full draught of his light.
Life is a sea as fathomless,
TRANSLATION OF PLAIN INTO FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
The following Examples present instances of plain language converted into figurative. This exercise will require a greater effort of imagination than the last ; but the difficulty of the task must not prevent an attempt at its execution,
The sun sank lingering in the west.
* For an example showing the difference in the vivacity of style in plaia and figurative langurge, see note on pages 118 and 119.
Plain. The winds made the large trees bend.
Figurative. The giant trees leaned back from the encoun tering breeze.
Plain. The thunder is echoed from the tops of the moun tains.
Figurative. From peak to peak leaps the live thunder.
Plain. It is again morning, a bright, fair, and pleasant morning; and the clouds have all passed away. Figurative The rr orn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
Rejoicing in the east.
The snow covers the earth.
Figurative. The clouds have dropped their garnered fulness down.
Plain. The fair morning makes the eastern skies look bright Figurative. The fair morning gilds the eastern skies.
Plain. Some solitary column stands alone, while the others have been thrown down.
Figurative. Some solitary column mourns above its prostrate brethren. Plain. If pleasant looks will not soothe your displeasure,
I shall never attempt it with tears. Figurative. If sunshine will not dissolve thy snow,
I shall never attempt it with rain. Plain. The love that is caused by excitement is soon destroyed by affliction. Figurative. The love that is ordered to bathe in wine,
Would be sure to take cold in tears. Plain. Authors of modern date write for money, not for fame.
Figurative. 'Tis but to snip his locks they (modern authors: follow the golden-haired Apollo.
The conversion of plain into figurative language requires the exercise of considerable thought, and quickness of perception in tracing analogies. It is recommended to the student before he attempts an exercise of this kind, to read with attention portions of the works of some distinguished poet, with special reference to the figures he employs. Let him analyze the expressions, and point out what portions are figurative, in wi:at the figure consists, and on what analogy the figure is funded. An exercise of this kind will bring the mind into igorous action, and like all exercises having that tendency. innot fail to be highly beneficial.
RULES OF METAPHORS.
The following are the rules laid down by Dr. Blair, in relation to metaphors:
First. They must be suited to the nature of the subject; neither too numerous, nor too gay, nor too elevated for it. We must neither attempt to force the subject, by the use of them, into a degree of elevation not congraous to it; nor, on the contrary, suffer it to fall below its proper dignity. Some metaphors would be beautiful in poetry, which would be unnatural in prose; some are graceful in orations, which would be highly improper in historical composition. Figures are the dress of sentiment; they should, consequently, be adapted to the ideas which they are intended to adorn.
The second rule respects the choice of objects whence metaphors are to be drawn. The field for figurative language is very wide. All nature opens her stores, and allows us to collect them without restraint. But we must beware of using such allusions as raise in the mind mean, low, or dirty ideas. To render a metaphor perfect, it must entertain as well as enlighten. The most pleasing metaphors are derived from the fre. quent occurrences of art and nature, or from the civil transactions and customs of mankind.
In the third place, a metaphor should be founded on a resemblance, cr analogy, which is clear and striking, not far fetched, nor difficult to be discovered. Harsh or forced metaphors are always displeasing, because they perplex the reader, and, instead of illustrating the thought, they ren. der it intricate and confused.
In the fourth place, we must never jumble metaphorical and plain lan guage together; that is, never construct a period, so that part of it must be understood metaphorically, part literally
In the fifth place, take care not to make two different metaphors meet on the same object. This, which is called mixed metaphor, is one of the greatest abuses of the figure. Shakspeare's expression, for example, “To take arms against a sea of troubles," makes a most unnatural medley and entirely confounds the imagination.*
In examining the propriety of metaphors, it is a good rule to form a picture of them, and to consider how the parts agree, and what kind of figure the whole presents, when delineated with a pencil.
Metaphors, in the sixth place, should not be crowded together on the same object. Though each of them be distinct, yet if they be heaped on one another, they produce confusion.
The last rule concerning metaphors is, they should not be too far pursued. For, when the resemblance, which is the foundation of the figure, is long dwelt upon, and carried into all its minute circumstances, an allegory is produced, instead of a metaphor; the reader is wearied, and the discourse becomes obscured. This is termed, straining a metaphor.
PROSOPOPOEIA, OR PERSONIFICATION.
The literal meaning of prosopopoeia is, the change of things to persons. A fondness for life and animated beings, in preference to inanimate objects, is one of the first principles of literary taste.
That figure, therefore, hy which life and action are attributed to inanimate objects, is one of frequent occurrence among the best writers of prose and of poetry. etical writers, especially, it is of the greatest consequence, as constituting the very life and soul, as it were, of their numbers. This will easily be seen by the following example:
* The brilliant sun is rising in the east.” How tame and spiritless is this line, compared with the manner in which the same idea is expressed by the poet, thus
“But yonder comes the powerful King of Day,
* Mr. Steele, in his “ Prosodia Rationalis," has rescued the Bard of Avon from this inconsistent metaphor, by the suggestion, that it was originally written,“ To take arms against assail of troubles."
f This extract, from Thomson's Seasons, operates as a temptation, that cannot be resisted, to present another from the same page, which, as a pic ture, remarkable alike for beauty of coloring, dignity of appearance, and sublimity of conception, is scarcely equalled in any other language. That