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by long and constant use, lost their figurative power, are degraded to the inferior rank of proper terms. Thus the words that express the operations of the mind, have in all languages been originally figurative: the reason holds in all, that when these operations came first under consideration, there was no other way of describing them but by what they resembled: it was not practicable to give them proper names, as may be done to objects that can be ascertained by sight and touch. A soft nature, jarring tempers, -weight of wo, pompous phrase, beget companion, assuage grief, break a vow, bend the eye downward, power down curses, drown'd in tears, ■wrapt in joy, ivarm'd with eloquence, loaden with spoils, and a thousand other expressions of the like nature, have lost their figurative fense. Some terms there are, that cannot be said to be either purely figurative or altogether proper: originally figurative, they are tending to simplici- » city, without having lost altogether their figurative power. Virgil's Regina saucia cura, is perhaps one of these expressions: with ordinary readers, saucia will be considered as expressing simply the effect of grief; but one of a lively imagination will exalt the phrase into a figure.
To epitomise this subject, and at the same time to give a clear view of it, I cannot think of a better method, than to present to the reader a list of the several relations upon which figures of speech are commonly founded. This lift 1 divide into two tables; one of subjects expressed figuratively, and one of attributes.
1. A word proper to one subject employ'd figuratively to express a resembling subject.
There is no figure of speech so frequent, as •what is derived from the relation of resemblance. Youth, for example, is signified figuratively by the morning of life. The life of a man resembles a natural day in several particulars: the morning is the beginning of day, youth the beginning of life; the morning is chearful, so is youth; &c. By another resemblance, a bold warrior is termed the thunderbolt of war; a multitude of troubles, &Jea of troubles.
At the fame time, this figure, above all of the kind, affords the greatest pleasure to the mind by variety of beauties. Beside the beauties above mentioned, common to all forts, it possesses in particular the beauty of a metaphor or of a simile: a figure of speech built upon resemblance, suggests always a comparison between the principal subject and the accessory; and by this means every good effect of a metaphor or simile, may, in a sliort and lively manner, be produced by this figure of speech.
2. A word proper to the effect einploy'd figuratively to express the cause.
Lux for the sun. Shadow for cloud. A helmet is signified by the expression glittering terror. A tree by shadow or umbrage. Hence the expression:
Nee habet Pclion umbras. Ovid.
Where the dun umbrage hangs. Spring, I. 1023.
A wound is made to signify an arrow;
Vulnere non pedibus te consequar. Ovid.
There is a peculiar force and beauty in this figure: the word which signifies figuratively the principal subject, denotes it to be a cause by suggesting the effect.
3. A word proper" to the cause, em ploy'd figuratively to express the effect.
Boumque labor es for corn. Sorrow or grief for tears.
Again Ulyfles veil'd his pensive head,
Streaming Grief his faded cheek bedew'd.
Blindness for darkness:
Cæcis erramus In uridis* Æneid. iii. 26cu
"There is a peculiar energy in this figure, similar to that in the former: the figurative name denotes the subject to be an effect, by suggesting its cause.
4. Two things being intimately connected, the proper name of the one employ'd figuratively to signify the other*
Day for light. Night for darkness; and hence j A sudden night. JVinter for a storm at sea:
Interea magno misceri murmure pontum;
Æneid. i. 128.
This last figure would be too bold for a British, writer, as a storm at sea is not inseparably connected with winter in this climate.
y. A word proper to an attribute, employ'd figuratively to denote the subject.
Youth and beauty for those who are young and beautiful:
Youth and beauty shall be laid in dust.
Majefty for the King:
What art thou, that usurp'st. this time of night,
Hamlet, ail I. sc. I.
• Or have ye chosen this place
After the toils of battle, to repose
Your weary'd virtue? Paradise Lost.
Verdure for a green field. Summer■, I. 301. Speaking of cranes,
■To pigmy nations wounds and death they bring,
Iliad, iii. 10,
Cool age advances venerably wise. Iliad, iii. 149.
The peculiar beauty of this figure arises from suggesting an attribute that embellilhes the subject, or puts it in a stronger light.
6. A complex term employ'd figuratively to denote one of the component parts.
Funus for a dead body. Burial for a grave.
7. The name of one of the component parti instead of the complex terait